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What is a Soil Waste Classification Test?

Soil waste classification testing is essential in order to accurately classify and appropriately manage soil waste. If a site is believed to be potentially contaminated, a soil waste classification test needs to be done before any soil waste can be removed. Soil waste classification testing can also save you money on disposal and by avoiding potential penalties for wrongly disposing of soil waste.

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Why Do I Need a Soil Waste Classification Test?

When waste soil is produced at any potentially contaminated site, the soil will need to be classified in order to ensure it is properly disposed of. A site can be contaminated by a range of sources including agricultural and industrial activities so there are many sites that will be potentially contaminated. Most waste soil will need to be sent to landfill and before this can be done, it must be classified by carrying out a waste classification test.

A soil waste classification test will help to determine how to dispose of soil waste and you may also be able to save a significant amount of money by sending to particular landfill classes. For example, hazardous landfill incurs a more expensive landfill tax than non-hazardous and inert landfills and more importantly, the Environment Agency has the authority to prosecute for the false classification of waste so it is important that your soil waste is accurately classified and appropriately disposed of.

What is a Soil Waste Classification Test?

Soil waste classification for landfill will involve analysing soil for heavy metals and hydrocarbons as a minimum. Heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead and zinc, are known to have significant human and environmental health impacts. Most heavy metals are classified as human carcinogens and they are also known to bio-accumulate in organisms. They are highly persistent in soils and can therefore accumulate to high concentrations and be detrimental to environmental health. Their extensive use in various industries has lead to widespread environmental pollution and this is why testing for heavy metals in soil is an important part of a soil waste classification test.

Hydrocarbons contamination can occur either by accidental releases or through human activities. For example, fuel emissions or spillages can lead to petroleum hydrocarbon contamination and the burning organic organic products, such as wood and crop residues, can contaminate soils with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are highly persistent. Hydrocarbons are harmful to human health through the release of vapours and can also cause negative environmental impacts if they contaminate soils and waters.

A soil waste classification test will analyse these contaminants and assess them against multiple waste regulations allowing us to determine whether soil waste is classified as hazardous or non-hazardous.

How Do I Get a Soil Waste Classification Test?

If you intend to dispose of soil waste at a potentially contaminated site, we are able to collect samples from your site, carry out a waste classification test in a UKAS accredited laboratory and prepare a waste classification report within days of 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.

It may also be necessary 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 you may wish to carry out inert WAC testing in order to 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 be included as a combined suite of testing.

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