What is a phase 1 investigation in land remediation?

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When it comes to dealing with contaminated land, there’s a set process that needs to be followed before any remediation plans can be drawn up. An early step is the phase 1 investigation, which is sometimes also called the desk study. This preliminary investigation is essentially an examination of all the possible risks at the site.

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The phase 1 investigation falls into two main stages – data collection, followed by the production of a model and a report explaining the findings.

The desk study and site walkover

The point of this process is to estimate how likely it is that there is contamination on the site. Other information that needs to be gathered is the history of the site, its current environmental context, how environmentally sensitive the site is and what contamination may have occurred.

There is a wide range of historical and current records that need to be accessed to start building up a model of the risk of site contamination and the need for land remediation http://www.ashremediation.co.uk/tank-decommissioning/ or not. For example, there are geological, archaeological or ecological surveys or activities.

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Site walkover

As part of the Phase 1 investigation, there should be a site visit that includes observations of the neighbouring land. Councils will expect an overview of adjacent sites because contaminants can travel from other sites.

During the site visit, the surveyor is looking for validation of the information that has been collected as part of the desk study. In terms of contaminants, the visit should yield information on any potential contaminant pathways from neighbouring sites. The visit should also throw up fresh information that adds to what has been discovered during the desk study. If possible, stakeholders should be consulted for their views, either during the visit or as part of the general information gathering. The supplementary information will help in the planning of any follow-up phases of investigation.

Preparing the report

Once all the preliminary information has been collected, a conceptual model of the site, its risks and its possible contamination can be developed. A preliminary risk assessment will be drawn up. These will form the basis of the report from Phase 1.

The remaining phases will depend on the content of the report, but this seemingly lengthy process ensures that remediation work is necessary and effective.

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