Do you have contaminated soil? Soil remediation is essential to getting the soil on your property healthy again. Soil remediation is the term used to describe the processes used to decontaminate soil.
Because of its widespread use as a building material in Australia, soil that is contaminated by asbestos has become one of the most common types of building site contamination. We are regularly contacted by developers to have the soil tested and remediated before they start building.
As with asbestos removal in buildings, soil remediation takes trained asbestos removal experts to undertake the work. Unlike removal from buildings, modified equipment needs to be used to not only ensure removal of the asbestos, but to also satisfy regulatory requirements.
Soil Remediation Processes
There are several processes that can be used to remediate the soil on your site. The process used will depend on the contaminants in the soil. A sample is first taken from the soil to confirm which process to use.
- Thermal Soil Remediation – this process removed specific contaminants that respond best to high temperatures. This process is usually used for soil that has been contaminated by water, oil, or petroleum products. The soil is essentially baked, which causes the contaminants to evaporate.
- Encapsulation – the process of encapsulation is to ensure that the contaminated soil cannot spread any further. Often this requires missing the contaminate soil with products such as lime, cement and concrete to prevent other soil from coming into contact with the contaminated soil.
- Bioremediation – this process sees bacteria released into the soil to consume and breakdown the contaminants in the soil.
Asbestos Remediation and Abatement
Asbestos remediation and abatement are the two most common techniques used to minimise the risk of asbestos and asbestos containing materials on your property.
Remediation and abatement are often used interchangeably, however there are some differences that are important to understand to help you manage asbestos and have it removed safely. The type of removal process used will depend on the location, the condition of the materials and how it is best managed.
Remediation is a type of abatement and refers to the treatment of asbestos contaminated soil. If fragments of non-friable asbestos are found on the soil surface, the fragments can be removed using the right treatment process.
Remediation not only removes the asbestos from the soil, but it ensures that it does not pose a threat in the future.
Asbestos abatement tends to refer to removing asbestos materials from a structure or property and includes sealing off the contaminated area, removing the asbestos and cleaning the area thoroughly to ensure there is no further contamination.
The abatement process often uses an encapsulation process to mitigate the risk of asbestos fibres being released into the air.
Can Asbestos be Found in Groundwater?
An area we don’t typically tend to think about is whether asbestos can be found in groundwater and other water sources. The answer to this question is that it can potentially be found in groundwater and drinking water. How?
Historically, asbestos was used in pipes leading to and from houses as it was in the cement that was used to make the pipes. As these pipes gradually decay, the asbestos fibres can be released into the drinking water. These pipes were used for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems.
Apart from this, if asbestos is found in soil, in rain events, that soil can be washed into our waterways, therefore contaminating the water. The same happens if asbestos debris is left laying around on a property or not disposed of correctly.
Generally, if this was to occur, the levels would be quite low, but if you do have or suspect that your soil, or any pipework on your property main contain asbestos, having the soil (and piping) treated and disposed of if essential.
Contaminated Soil – Treatment and Disposal
Icon Asbestos Removal offers a contaminated soil treatment and disposal service which includes assessment of the soil, managing the removal of the soil, and disposing of the contaminated materials correctly.
We offer a range of remediation methods, leaving you with a safe home garden, commercial or industrial site.
Challenges with Soil Remediation
Soil remediation can be challenging. Soil is much harder to inspect than materials that are on a building, and rather than just a straight removal of the materials, the soil needs to be dug up carefully minimising the spread of fibres.
Working out the boundaries of contamination can be difficult as well, as you can only remediate the soil that has been tested. One of the biggest issues with asbestos is, that unless it has been spread through the soil during construction or demolition, it can be found in certain locations and there is an element of “hit-and-miss” when trying to determine the extent of the contamination. What this could mean is that large portions of your site can be considered contaminated, taking time and money to remediate.
Another factor that makes remediation difficult is the various types of asbestos that can be in the soil. There could be anything from pipe lagging through to large (broken and unbroken) sheets from illegal dumping.
To remove your contaminated soil, call Icon Asbestos Removal and speak with our friendly team.