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Soil Contamination Test in Nottingham - Case Study

DPL Steel Buildings, now regular clients of ours, instructed us to conduct a soil contamination test at a site in Nottingham to identify that the ground they were building on was non-hazardous and to categorise it for waste disposal. We were able to provide a quick and efficient service and ensure the protection of the local environment and the people using the area as well as save DPL potentially huge costs down the line from unidentified soil contamination and landfill costs.

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Construction Project in West Bridgford, Nottingham

DPL, a leading groundworks and steel building construction company based in the East Midlands, had won the contract to construct a storage building for the University of Nottingham Boathouse, located in a relatively built up area very close to Nottingham Forest Football Ground on the south side of the River Trent in Central Nottingham. Multiple potential sources of contamination nearby from past construction activity, accidental contamination or contaminants transported from the River Trent meant contamination testing was vital for the safe completion of the project.

Correct classification of soil waste is a very important environmental issue in the construction industry and our analysis allowed us to classify the waste being disposed of correctly; in this case, saving DPL the additional cost of higher landfill tax that would be charged for hazardous waste.

Contamination Testing Service Review

Following initial discussions with DPL, our environmental consultants visited the site to take soil samples to be analysed at a UKAS accredited laboratory and to survey the site for an in-depth site investigation report. Our analysis showed that the soil on site was non-hazardous and DPL were able to provide their chosen waste disposal firm with the information they required to continue their project within days of first contact.

The guys at Oakshire are really friendly and helpful. They always deliver a professional and speedy service for us. We use them for all our waste classification testing, reporting and environmental consulting for our groundwork division at DPL. A great company to work with. - DPL Steel Buildings

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Our Soil Contamination Testing Process

Desk Studies - To assess the potential for contamination we initially carried out desk studies using online databases such as the British Geological Society. This involves developing a site history and collating available information on the Nottingham site to identify the most likely contamination sources before our initial site visit.

Site Investigation - We then visited the site to carry out an intrusive site investigation that involved mapping out the site and surrounding area and identifying any possible contamination issues that were not able to be identified during our desk studies. For example, at the site in Nottingham there were oil containers that added another potential contaminant source to assess.

Soil Sampling - After carrying out our site investigation we collected soil samples using an auger to drill approximately 0.5m into the ground at 5 points in the area that was to be built on in order to produce a representative sample of the site. At this stage we also estimated the quantity of waste to be disposed of and categorised the waste into its correct Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code and European Waste Code (EWC) to ensure the proper management of the waste after it leaves the site.

Laboratory Analysis - These soil samples were then sent to a UKAS accredited laboratory for a waste classification test to analyse them for heavy metal contamination, TPHs, PAHs and soil pH. These constituents are important to test as high levels of heavy metals can be highly toxic to humans and animals so they need to be tested for before soil can be disposed of. Similarly, TPHs and PAHs, which come from crude oil and the burning of fossil fuels, contaminate the environment and are not readily biodegraded so they need to be properly managed to avoid further soil contamination. Very high and very low pH soils can corrode some materials so it is useful to measure the pH of the soil to help decide what materials use.

Within days we were able to provide DPL with the results of our soil contamination test including our site investigation report and waste characterisation form for the waste disposal company.