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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. A waste classification test will be required to measure the levels of potentially toxic heavy metals and hydrocarbons and to classify the waste for disposal.

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Why Do I Need a Soil Test?

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.

• Some producers describe the waste they create incorrectly 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 is Responsible for Doing a Soil Test? - Government legislation states that it is the legal responsibility of the waste producer to ensure a soil test is done for removing 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.

How Do I Get a Soil Test?

Soil Testing Service & Turnaround - We are able to collect samples from a site, conduct contaminated land investigations including a waste classification test in a UKAS accredited laboratory and site investigations to assess potential sources of contamination in the soil with a 3-day turnaround from sample collection. We can then liaise with waste disposal companies to remove the soil with the knowledge that you have done your due diligence and fully complied with environmental regulations.

Example Project - We recently carried out sample collection, site investigation and laboratory analysis on a site near the City Ground in Nottingham for a steel buildings company as they needed qualified testing to dispose of soil excavated for groundworks. We were able to go to site, collect samples, produce a site investigation report, provide lab analysis and send everything back to them within 5 days of their enquiry, allowing them to stay on track with their schedule for the construction of a new boathouse for the University of Nottingham.

WAC Testing for Construction Waste - It may also be neccesary to carry out WAC testing after the waste has been classified. Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) testing is done to determine which landfill class to send construction waste to. If construction waste is identified as non-hazardous and believe it to be inert you can carry out inert WAC testing to potentially send it to inert landfill (inert landfill is generally cheaper than non-hazardous). When construction waste is found to be hazardous, a hazardous WAC test can be done to see whether it meets hazardous WAC criteria and if it doesn't then it must undergo treatment before it can be sent to landfill. This part of the process is often carried out by the waste carrier but it is a service that we also provide and can included as part of our contaminated land investigation as a combined suite of testing.

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