What is Environmental Remediation?
Have you recently purchased property that chemicals have contaminated? If so, it’s easy to let that stop you from moving forward with your construction project. However, soil contamination isn’t the end of the world. While it should be taken seriously, there are several soil remediation methods you can use to restore your soil to a healthy condition.
No matter the cause of contamination, you should seek out environmental remediation services. It is important that you eliminate the chemicals, not just for your own human health. The United States has strict standards for environmental standards and dumping practices. Therefore, you could be responsible for contaminated soil even if you did not cause it.
Soil remediation refers to the process of purifying and revitalizing soil by removing any contaminants. These contaminants can come from a variety of sources. However, they typically result from human activities, whether they are direct or indirect.
Why is soil remediation so important?
Pollutants in your soil eventually can cause groundwater contamination. If you use a well as your water source, this could cause you to directly ingest dangerous chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic.
Even if you don’t drink groundwater, contact with contaminated soil can still cause exposure symptoms. Depending on the type of pollutant, you could experience everything from skin rash to neuromuscular blockage.
Examples of Soil Contamination
The key to moving forward with soil remediation is identifying the pollutant. If you live next to a chemical plant, it might be easier to figure out the culprit. However, there are many cases where your soil could be contaminated without your knowledge. You could even be causing the pollution without realizing it.
The following are just a few of the most common types of soil contaminants that require soil or groundwater remediation:
- Solid or Liquid Industrial Waste
- Excessive Pesticides and Fertilizer
- Septic System Failure
- Improper Disposal of Waste
- Leaching from Landfill
- Damaged Storage Tanks Underground
How to Check for Contaminated Soil
Unfortunately, many of these chemicals are difficult to detect. If you suspect that your soil and groundwater may be affected by pollution, we recommend a site assessment. Hiring a professional can ensure the most accurate results because they do thorough inspections and testing. In fact, they carefully check for contaminated areas by:
- Taking a Soil Sample: To start, a soil expert comes to your property to take a sample. From there, the sample gets sent off to a lab, where it will be tested to see if there are any chemicals or unwanted compounds. The test also tells you the level of contamination in the soil.
- Undergoing Additional Tests: If the results indicate that you may be dealing with pollution, your soil expert will recommend more tests. These findings can show you the extent of contamination on the property. Experts often will want to check groundwater and surrounding areas to see how much contamination has occurred.
- Checking the Land’s History: Your soil inspector will also need to look at the history of your land. If it was on or near an industrial site, it could need more in-depth testing, which can check for a wide variety of contaminants. You should also check to see where most of your surface water comes from.
Common Soil Remediation Methods
If your test results indicate that you are dealing with any kind of pollution, soil remediation is the next step. Your soil expert can help you to contact a remediation team. These professionals put together a treatment plan for the removal of contaminated soil.
Your remediation plan typically depends on the type and severity of the pollution, but there are four main methods: soil washing, air sparging, thermal desorption, and bioremediation.
As the name implies, this method of remediation involves washing the soil to clean it. You could compare it to the pump-and-treat process of cleaning contaminated water. It can only be done off-site as it requires the soil to be washed with a liquid before it is scrubbed. From there, the clean soil is separated from the contaminants and wash water. While it is effective, it is often impractical and expensive for homeowners.
This method works best for contaminated sites with toxic gas or vapor. Unlike other remediation technologies, you don’t have to extra the soil for treatment. Instead, large volumes of pressurized air are injected into the ground to remove compounds typically filtered by carbon. You can make it more effective by combining it with soil vapor extraction.
Thermal remediation is another ex situ method, which means you must remove the soil from contaminated sites. It is then sent to a facility where it is fed through an oven on a conveyor belt. The heat helps to extract contaminants subject to evaporation, such as polluted water or water-based compounds.
If you prefer the convenience of in situ techniques that don’t require excavation, bioremediation might be your best option. It differs from other remediation projects because it doesn’t rely on mechanics. Instead, it combats the chemicals with biological organisms.
What does that mean?
Your remediation team applies a carefully engineered combination of aerobic and anaerobic bacterium. The bacterium is chosen based on their ability to feed on the pollutant. You don’t have to worry about the bacterium becoming a separate problem, however. Much like yeast, they die off once they consume all the contaminants. Keep in mind that this method requires specific conditions to be effective.
Dig a Test Pit for Your NJ Construction Site
If you and your remediation crew have selected an ex situ method, Mikula Contracting is happy to help you with your soil remediation project. We have several skilled contractors ready to help excavate your site. We can even help you with soil test pits if you are in the beginning stages of environmental remediations.
You can get started with your soil remediation project by calling our helpful representatives. We also have a simple online form that you can fill out to request a quote for our services.