Contaminated Soil Analysis And How It Can Affect Removal Procedures

Before you can dispose your contaminated soil, landfill operators require a analysis of its content to ensure it meets their licence criteria. The resulting classification system is based on the severity of the potential danger upon human health and the environment. The highest categories require strict hazard reduction methods before they are deemed fit for landfill disposal.

Contaminated soil is caused by chemicals and/or waste material that finds its way into soil as a result of human activity. Soil contaminants are particularly common on construction sites that are located on old industrial land due to asbestos and other harmful building materials that are no longer used. This often slows down urban development, as the contaminated soil must be addressed before new building projects can begin development.

Waste Categories

There are four waste categories for contaminated soil: A, B, C and Clean Fill. Each category has a specific toxicity level based on units – measured in mg/kg – of contaminants. These contaminants are: inorganic species, anions, organic species and pesticides. To determine which waste category your soil fits into, you must work down from the highest level of toxicity – Category A. For example, if the chemical characteristics of your soil doesn't meet the threshold value of Category A, it will be cross referenced against the threshold of Category B, and so on.

Highly contaminated soils that fall under Category B or A and are considered too dangerous for landfill disposal. In these instances the soil must be treated to reduce the toxicity levels, or disposed using alternative methods – most commonly through soil organic recycling facilities (SORF). The amount of Category A and B contaminated soil being sent to landfill sites has steadily decreased since the year 2000. This trend is due to the increasing costs of landfill disposal and technological advances in the field of recycling. 

Soil Removal Permits

Disposal of contaminated soil is only required if on-site remediation isn't possible. In order to dispose contaminated soil or remove it for treatment, you may need to acquire a permit – regulations can vary throughout different states and territories across Australia. Disposal permit applications require written acceptance from the land owner where the soil is being treated or disposed. Once granted, the permit may include specific conditions, such as a required transportation method and treatment process. It may also be bound by a time limit and soil volume.

To find out about your state laws, seek advice from a professional soil removal service like Asbestos Extraction & Containment. They will tell you how to test your soil, apply for a permit and ensure that everything is legally sound.