CIRIA to draw up contam land data guidance

A leading construction industry organisation plans to draw up guidance to make it easier to assess contamination on brownfield sites.

CIRIA has launched a project that aims to draw up comprehensive guidance on how to obtain and interpret data.

It follows the publication earlier this year of the report by CL: AIRE (Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments) and CIEH (Chartered Institute of Environmental Health).

The report, Guidance on comparing soil contamination data with a critical concentration, gave detailed guidance on the use of statistics in risk assessment.

But CIRIA said that the statistical approach may not always be helpful, as developers are likely to know where the contamination on a site is, and will only take samples from that area, which could create biased data.

Project manager Joanne Kwan told edie: "People came to us to say we want a much more comprehensive report to say in what circumstances the statistics can apply and in what circumstances they cannot, and if they do, what should be done."

The proposed guidance is also set to cover the overall approach needed to obtain good data from sampling, and how to deal with some special contaminants such as VOCs.

CIRIA hopes it will help contaminated land professionals to be more flexible, pragmatic and confident when making conclusions about a site, and help developers avoid costly mistakes - particularly on large sites.

For example, in the London Olympic project, more than 44,600 cubic metres of soil have been sampled and tested so far.

Ms Kwan said: "Getting good data is vital because all the remediation and everything else downstream depends on it.

"You will get it all wrong without the right data, and sampling is very difficult and it costs a lot as well."

For more information or to get involved in the project, contact Ms Kwan on 020 7549 3300 or email

Kate Martin



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