Contaminated soil can present concerns not only to our health but also to the well-being of the environment around us. If not addressed and managed correctly, dangerous threats within contaminated soil can spread not only to people and the environment in the immediate vicinity but to wildlife and even the ecosystem, causing long-lasting damage.
What Is Soil Contamination?
Contaminated soil is soil that contains elements in it that weren’t naturally there in the first place. The contaminants are added by human activity, whether directly or indirectly. The soil could have been contaminated many years before, and its tainted properties were just recently found. It could also be the direct (or indirect) result of something going on currently.
Contaminated soil happens in a variety of ways, but one of the largest sources comes from industrial activities from years ago, resulting in large amounts of industrial waste. Military activity is another source of soil contamination, including metals, radioactive substances, and more. Farming chemicals, landfill leaching, unsuitable waste disposal, the list goes on and on.
If you know that your soil could be contaminated due to the area it is situated, the property history, or you find that it’s unsafe after testing, you must act and begin soil remediation as soon as possible. Although it can be costly, the risks associated with being exposed to contaminated soil could cost you and your loved ones even more.
How People Can Become Exposed to Soil Contaminants
Unfortunately, there are many ways that people can be exposed to contaminated soil. Some of the most common include:
- Ingesting or eating soil – Kids playing in the dirt can accidentally ingest the dirt or even breathe in the dust. Of course, there are always the curious kids that try eating dirt by the handful too.
- Breathing in the dust – Small parts of the soil can become airborne as the wind blows, or disturbed by trucks driving over it, etc. Think of construction, mining operations, landscaping, and more. Breathing in these dangerous particles can cause physical or chemical harm to our bodies.
- Absorbing it through the skin – Some contaminants can even be absorbed through the skin.
- Eating food grown in contaminated soil – Have you considered having your garden soil tested? It’s probably a good idea, even if it’s a community garden. If you grow food in dangerous soil, you put yourself and your family at risk, as the food could also end up contaminated. Be sure to thoroughly wash your vegetables before consuming them.
- Contaminated soil blowing or running into your otherwise clean soil – Maybe your farm is located near an area that takes care of hazardous wastes. In time, and with the help of rain, snow, and wind, the contaminated soil can make its way to your farm.
How Contaminated Land Can Affect Your Contracting Projects
Land that has been contaminated with hazardous materials can pose a risk to human health, animals, and plants. Depending on the type of contamination and location, groundwater and drinking water could be infiltrated quickly.
If contaminated soil is found at your construction site, there will surely be time delays as toxins are identified. There will also be some costs involved in soil remediation and/or removal as you make sure you are compliant in managing the contamination that is found.
Reviewing any kind of environmental reports you can before your contracting project begins can help protect those working at the site and prevent possible mishandling of contaminated soil. Be aware of historical land use and what took place at the site of your project beforehand to save time and money.
If you do not handle contaminated soil properly, the safety of those who come in contact with it, as well as the environment, could be poorly affected. It is legally the responsibility of the property owner and developer to handle such contamination. Mikula Contracting is familiar with handling soil remediation projects and can work with environmental engineers through the entire process so you are ready to begin your construction project that has been delayed.
Soil Remediation Options
Luckily, regulations and standards have helped prevent soil from becoming contaminated, but they have only been in place for 30-40 years. Some contaminated land has been cleaned up through soil remediation, but other contaminated sites remain neglected and untouched.
When remediation is taking place, it can either be taken care of at the site or carried off-site for treatment. Contaminated soil can be treated with biological treatments, chemical treatment options, or physical methods. The type of treatment you will use will largely depend on what types of chemicals are present and how badly the soil is contaminated. At Mikula Contracting we work with environmental firms and engineers on handling remediation and how to address it properly. Remember, if you have contaminated soil that is being taken off-site, it must be disposed of at an accredited facility in accordance with local guidelines.
Let Mikula Contracting Guide Your Soil Remediation Project
Mikula Contracting takes pride in every project we complete. We make sure that soil is tested if contamination is suspected, and we will guide you through soil remediation if necessary. We believe in doing each job right, and this includes keeping everyone safe and healthy. If soil remediation is needed, we will help you obtain the proper treatment so that you can get on with your construction project.
Contact Mikula Contracting to get started on your contracting project or to learn more about how we can help with soil remediation at your site.