A contaminated site is: ‘a site where there is a confirmed presence caused by human activities, of dangerous substances at a level deemed to pose a significant risk to human health or the environment’ (European Environment Agency).
Contamination can result from activities that took place historically on site and/ or on a nearby property. Such activities can include improper chemical handling, disposal practices, or accidental spillages of waste, oils or chemicals. The new land owner may be liable for cleaning up the site. Land contamination can devalue your property and risk the health of others. There is an estimated 2,000 potentially contaminated sites in Ireland.
In order for land to be affected by contamination, there must be a source of contamination (e.g. a toxic substance), a receptor that can be affected (e.g. human health, groundwater) and a pathway for the receptor to be exposed to the contamination (e.g. drinking of contaminated water).
In order to determine the potential for environmental liabilities associated with soil or groundwater contamination, a Phase 1 Site Investigation is carried out. This is a comprehensive review of available data to determine potential sources, pathways and receptors of contamination.
A Phase I Site Investigation typically involves the following:
– Desktop study of site characteristics to determine environmental sensitivity, including: soil, subsoil, geology, hydrology and flood history.
– Review of historical maps and available planning files to identify changes in land use.
– Site walkover survey to identify potential hazards and receptors on the ground.
– Review of surrounding land uses and topography;
– Review of EPA and County Council permits and licences.
A Phase II Site Investigation is only required if the need for one is identified in the initial Phase I report, involves:
– This assessment consists of intrusive site investigation with quantitative risk assessment.
– The site investigation procedure involves designing a specified sampling strategy, to target potential sources of contamination and conduct appropriate analysis of the results.
Rowan Engineering Consultants provide specialist services relating to site Phase I and Phase II site investigations. For further information on contaminated land, or how we can help you, please contact us.