What is Remediation and why is it important?

This article will define and explain the importance of site remediation and offer some framework on how to ‘get it right’.

What is Remediation? 

Simply put, remediation is the act of breaking viable pollutant linkages.  A pollutant linkage is where there is a Source of contamination (such as hydrocarbons in soils, asbestos, solvent in groundwater or another pollutant), a Pathway of exposure (such as direct contact, inhalation, migration through water pipes) and a Receptor or ‘target’ for the contamination (such as a resident of the new development, construction workers, neighbours, controlled waters, or public water abstractions). All of these elements must be present for a ‘Source-Pathway-Receptor’ (S-P-R) linkage to exist.  

As contaminated sites are characterised, a vast array of potentially viable pollutant linkages may be identified, many of which require disrupting (or Remediating).

In terms of how you remediate, that depends entirely on the characteristics of the site.  A huge range of techniques and technologies have been developed and implemented with some varying degrees of success.

Why Remediate?

As mentioned above, remediation is required to disrupt a S-P-R linkage and prevent the contamination from reaching its target and causing damage or harm.

Another very important use of Remediation techniques is to mitigate onward abnormal development costs.  For example, a contaminant may exist in the ground and not presently pose a risk, but if there are future plans to excavate this material then it may become an expensive waste to manage.  Remediation including sophisticated materials management can mitigate these costs.

There are two main drivers for Remediation in the UK.  

1 – It is required in accordance with legislation

2 – It is undertaken voluntarily to achieve some form of benefit or mitigation. 

Specifically, required remediation (often called ‘Statutory’ remediation) is undertaken as it is required by direct regulatory enforcement action. This could mean that there is an established active pollutant linkage with ‘Significant Potential of Significant Harm’ (SPoSH).  Alternatively, it could be that planning conditions stipulate site assessments and subsequent remedial actions are required to appropriately mitigate the risk from the contaminated land.   There may be good reason to go beyond these statutory requirements, and in turn mitigate onward costs associated with development or to manage reputational issues.

How to choose the right Remediation option 

We’ve established why Remediation is important so how do you ensure you choose the right solution.  Jackson Remediation is a remediation and enabling works specialist working to improve the reputation and quality of remediation contracting in the UK, whilst delivering at the best price possible.

We’d be delighted to talk you through our approach but for more information on the process in general, read on.

Firstly, it’s important to keep the end in mind and remember why you are remediating.  The starting point must be disruption of an S-P-R linkage and for that we recommend undertaking a detailed appraisal of the Remediation techniques available.  

A formal Remediation Options Appraisal can assess the suitability of multiple methods and also consider the key project objectives in the decision-making process. It’s not always about price!  

To execute truly impactful Remediation, a broader view of the project lifecycle is required to ensure all opportunities to mitigate cost/risk, or capitalise on benefits are not missed. These benefits could be the cost effective management of surplus soils generated by the installation of deep foundations or future infrastructure works.

Remediation done properly is not complicated and can bring significant benefits to the project and local communities.  It Is however detailed and requires qualified and experienced practitioners.

At Jackson Remediation, we are highly experienced in Remediation delivery and because of our wider view of the entire project lifecycle, we deliver a high quality service at a low cost.