The cost of removing from site Inert, Non-Hazardous & Hazardous Soils

(…..and everything in between)

Remediation’s evolution throughout the last 20 years has predominantly been centered around the ability to reuse contaminated soils on site and limiting the amount of material off site.  However, off-site removal of surplus soils is often an inevitability due to required construction levels on site.  Consequently clients (PMs and QSs) often ask for prices for this surplus removal.  

The most common approach is to ask for rates for ‘Inert’, ‘Non-Hazardous’ and ‘Hazardous’ disposal.  But, this can be quite misleading as this shortlist doesn’t capture the full suite of options in the market.  

This article will explain these options to help you understand the pricing offered, and present ways to make financial savings where possible.

To start with, let’s look at the alternatives to landfill. It’s rarely discussed with clients that they can send material to ‘receiver sites’ (as a non-waste), restoration sites and treatment facilities rather than to landfill.  Landfill disposal Incurs Landfill Tax (either Lower Rate or Standard Rate).  For the financial year starting 1st April 2021 Standard Rate Landfill Tax sits at £96.70 per tonne (approximately £1,837.30 per load based on 19 tonnes per load). By sending material to facilities where this does not apply, you can make big savings within remediation contracts. 

Dependent on the contamination found on site our view at Jackson Remediation is that there are at least 12 different ‘waste’ classes that can arise from brownfield sites. Each commands a different price in the market. 

Generically we can expand on the Inert, Non-Haz, Haz classification as follows:

  • Inert
    • Inert – Granular
    • Inert – Cohesive 
  • Non-Hazardous
    • Non-Hazardous – Asbestos free
    • Non-Hazardous – Asbestos <0.01%
    • Non-Hazardous – Asbestos <0.1%
    • Non-Hazardous – Active
  • Hazardous
    • Hazardous – Treatable ACM 
    • Hazardous – Treatable TPH
    • Hazardous – Treatable TPH & Asbestos
    • Hazardous – Stable Non-Reactive
    • Hazardous – Untreatable (exc metals)
    • Hazardous – Untreatable (inc metals)

Each of the above has varying tip fees and taxes applied to them. In fact, Non-Hazardous & Hazardous classifications’ costs can differ by over £1000 per load. 

The easiest example to demonstrate this is asbestos contaminated material. Guidance states that if fragments of asbestos are found within soils, they are deemed hazardous. However, there are permitted receiving facilities across the UK that are set up to treat asbestos contaminated material thereby declassifing it to a form of Non-Hazardous. In doing so a low-rate landfill tax (£3.10 per tonne) is applied rather than the standard rate landfill tax (£96.70 per tonne). This will result in a cost saving of £93.61 per tonne minus any treatment costs the facility incurs. On big bulk earthworks projects, this can lead to significant savings.

There are a few available online tools to aid in waste classification such as HazWaste Online and CATSOIL.  While these give the client a clear understanding as to where the problems lie on the site, they cannot show you the best route of disposal / off-site recovery. This still comes down to a knowledge of the market and the facilities available. We at Jackson Remediation have a proven track record of not only critically reviewing waste classification reports but also finding the best receiving facilities.

Understanding the importance of these different waste classifications and the full list of options out there is what Jackson Remediation prides itself on. As always, our clients come first and with our fully transparent approach, we can quickly complete a detailed surplus material appraisal and ensure the most cost-effective disposal solution is put forward. 

Never choose between price and quality again.