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Do I Need a Soil Test for Removing Construction Waste?

If you're removing soil waste, produced by business activities (e.g. a groundworks construction company excavating earth for foundations of a building), you will need to determine whether the soil you are removing is hazardous or not, as this will determine how the waste will be disposed of and whether soil could be re-used, avoiding the need for disposal. A waste classification test will be required to measure the levels of potentially toxic heavy metals and hydrocarbons and to classify the waste. If landfill is the chosen destination for your soil waste, leachate analysis will be needed and this is known as a Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) test.

Why Do I Need Soil Testing for Construction Waste Disposal?

Laws regarding proper disposal of construction waste have become far more stringent and more strictly enforced in recent years, resulting in the need for companies to conduct soil tests before removing construction waste. Authorities such as the Environment Agency have the right to fine you for failure to comply with waste management regulations. Common issues surrounding removal of construction waste, and reasons for needing soil testing, include:

• Producers describing the waste they create incorrectly, in order to pay a lower rate of tax
• The Environment Agency is currently clamping down on deliberate misdescription of waste, whereby hazardous waste is described as non-hazardous, or waste misclassified as non-waste
• Government review has called for increased fines for companies mislabelling waste
• To avoid unintentional mislabelling of waste, soil tests for removing construction waste will need to be carried out
• Failure to test waste to properly classify it may be treated as criminal negligence and punished as such.

Who's responsible for ensuring a soil test is conducted? - Government legislation states that it is the legal responsibility of the waste producer to ensure a soil test is carried out for removal and disposal of construction waste. It is considered part of your 'Duty of Care'. However, this is not always a simple process and the correct knowledge and credentials are essential in order to make sure you comply with the relevant regulations and avoid potential penalties. Luckily you don't have to carry out these soil tests yourself as we can work on your behalf to ensure the proper and legal disposal of your construction waste and save you time and money on your construction project.

What Soil Testing Do I Need for Removing Construction Waste?

Waste Classification Testing for Construction Waste - In order to accurately assess contamination levels of construction waste prior to waste disposal, we're able to collect samples from site or provide a soil testing kit, conduct soil waste classification, in a UKAS accredited laboratory, all within 3-4 working days. We can then liaise with waste disposal companies to remove the soil from site, meaning you can rest assured that you've done your due diligence and fully complied with environmental regulations.

WAC Testing for Construction Waste - It may also be necessary to carry out WAC testing after the waste soil has been classified. Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) testing is carried out to determine which type of landfill your construction waste can be sent to. If construction waste is initially classified as non-hazardous waste but is also potentially inert, you may wish to carry out WAC testing to confirm this (inert landfill is generally cheaper than non-hazardous). When construction waste is found to be hazardous, a hazardous WAC test can be carried out to see whether it meets hazardous WAC criteria, if it doesn't then it must undergo treatment before it can be sent to landfill.

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Contamination Testing for Construction Waste Case Study & Review

When disposing of soil waste from construction work, it is often necessary to test for soil contamination to ensure the waste is appropriately disposed of. This generally involves collecting soil samples to be analysed in a laboratory to classify the waste into a particular landfill class. With tighter environmental regulations being imposed on business activities, it's important to ensure that construction waste is properly dealt with to avoid penalties and potential environmental pollution.

Site Visit & Fast Tracked Turnaround - We were instructed by a Leicestershire based construction firm, DPL Steel Buildings, to carry out a site assessment with sampling work and soil contamination testing for their construction waste. After being let down by a previous contractor, DPL needed contamination testing for muck away removal of 5000 tonnes of soil from their site in Leicestershire and were on a tight schedule, so needed a fast tracked turnaround. We were able to visit site the following day and carry out a full site survey along with comprehensive soil testing of the construction waste being removed from site. This allowed DPL to stick to their schedule, mitigating any delays and ensuring they complied with waste disposal regulations.

Soil Sampling - The site was approximately 2500m2 with around 5000 tonnes of soil for waste disposal. 5 soil sample sets were taken from the site for testing, this included 5 x 500ml plastic tubs, 5 x 250ml amber jars and 5 x 60ml VOC jars. Samples are collected in a range of containers in order to analyse the waste for different properties, such as heavy metal and hydrocarbon concentrations, in order to gain a complete testing of the waste and any potential contamination. Soil samples were taken from specific locations on the site so as to gain a representative sample of all the waste being removed.

Laboratory Analysis - The soil samples, collected from site were sent to a UKAS accredited laboratory for contamination testing where they were tested for a range of properties. The samples were tested for concentrations of heavy metals, TPHs and PAHs. This is known as a 'Waste Classification Test' as these are considered to be the most important characteristics of soil with regards to classifying it as hazardous or non-hazardous. Since the client needed results as soon as possible we fast tracked the project and completed within just 3 days.

Waste Characterisation Form - Many waste disposal companies require and completed waste characterisation form prior to collecting waste from site. A waste characterisation form is both simple and complex and generally consists of information about the site and the waste being disposed of, as well as, contamination testing to confirm whether the construction waste being disposed of is hazardous or non-hazardous. For example, the correct 'List of Waste' and 'European Waste Catalogue' codes are needed along with details of the activity producing the waste. As part of our service, if available, we will complete the waste characterisation form of our client's chosen waste disposal company, saving them time and giving them confidence that the information is accurate and the form is correctly completed.

DPL Steel Buildings are now a construction partner of ours, after successfully working together for some time now, and kindly posted this review on our social media.

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.

Meet Our Construction Waste Consultants

Consultants - Supervised by our Chief Technical Officer, Louis Turner, our fully comprehensive construction waste soil testing services, are carried out by highly qualified consultants, combining over 30 years experience with recognised in-depth technical qualifications in identification of contamination and environmental issues, as well as the implementation of remediation work.

Management - Our wealth of experience in project management, logistics and environmental consulting allows us to provide efficient, friendly and high quality construction wast testing services for our clients. As a company, we believe that helping clients achieve their goals while simultaneously protecting the environment is a true "win-win" situation.

Partners - Our experienced, professional and qualified construction and consulting partners further extend the range of environmental and waste soil testing services we are able to provide. Our partners provide our clients with services such as waste management, remediation implementation and construction services.

Contact Us - Contact us and let us know your requirements. We can carry out soil testing for off-site disposal of construction waste, for a range of residential and commercial development projects. If your requirements are more complex, or you're looking for more information about our soil testing services for removal and disposal of waste soil or our company, a more formal consultation may be necessary. Following initial consultation we can provide an outline proposal detailing how we can help and the costs involved.

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