When asbestos contaminates land and soil, it can be a complex problem to diagnose and resolve. There are a number of factors that make asbestos in the soil so difficult to remedy.
The first being the fact that soil is much harder to inspect than materials that are above ground. Soil needs to be dug up and even then, soil remediation can only take place on areas of soil which have been tested so working out boundaries of contamination can be very challenging. Asbestos contamination is also unique in that, unlike contamination caused by other chemicals, it is found in discrete locations only and there is invariably an element of “hit-and-miss” when identifying the extent of asbestos-contaminated soils. These unknowns often mean an entire site, or large portions of a site, are considered to be contaminated.
The second factor that makes soil remediation for asbestos-contaminated land such a difficult task, is the range of different asbestos types that can be found in any given square meter of soil. It may be very fine asbestos from pipe lagging, a bonded form of asbestos from fibrous cement sheet which can also be friable (depending on certain conditions), or it may be from the material that has been illegally dumped or left there from times when the dangers of asbestos were not widely known. The soil may even contain a combination of different types. The type of asbestos found, will largely determine the contaminated land remediation response that needs to be taken in order to properly treat the soil including those people who are suitably qualified to deal with the issue.
The third factor that makes asbestos in soil a complex issue is the cost, effort and time it takes to remove it. As mentioned, the extent of contamination can be hard to define, but it many cases the site will need to be excavated, which can be quite a large operation. The contaminated soil must then be transported to the disposal location. Alternatively, the contaminated material may need to be managed or contained on-site, which can also be a lengthy and costly process with the added requirement for long-term management.
Understanding the nature and extent of asbestos-contaminated soils prior to implementing a remediation strategy is essential. Failure to fully understand the extent of contamination can lead to remediation cost blow-outs, future remediation or management requirements, construction issues, and long-term implications to human health and the environment. A suitable site investigation program is required to reduce the likelihood of issues arising during future aspects of a project.
At Hazmat Services, our Contaminated Lands and Hazardous MaterialsConsultants will develop an investigation program and, if needed, a remedial strategy based on the investigation outcome and risk assessment.
You can reply to our Specialists to conduct comprehensive contaminated land remediation for your site. Contact us today.