Rethinking remediation

Cleaning up a contaminated site can cause protracted headaches for developers. But delays to construction can be avoided, writes Martin Richell

Frequently, the clean-up of a contaminated site can delay the start of construction work for months. Much to the annoyance of the developer, remediation projects can overrun, delay progress, or result in additional development costs over and above the original remediation budget.

Priorities for a developer are usually cost-certainty, timescale-certainty and


There are a number of ways to minimise the impact of a remediation project on site:

  • Phasing the development, starting construction on areas not requiring clean-up
  • Abandoning sustainable on-site remediation techniques for (increasingly more expensive) dig and dump options
  • Using in-situ techniques within a small site footprint
  • Using techniques that work fast
  • Being innovative – combining risk assessment with remediation research and development to devise novel and innovative clean-up schemes

RAW Remediation has recently successfully completed the clean-up of a former filling station while development works were undertaken. Because of the relatively small size of the site, there was no room to phase the development, and mass dig and dump was ruled out due to the high cost of disposing of hazardous waste. Timescales for development of the site required overlap of the clean-up operation and the start of the construction works.

Consequently, a scheme was designed that allowed these needs to be met, based on in-situ treatment and use of risk assessment to minimise the necessary site works and associated timescales.

Cost benefit analysis, in addition to site-specific quantitative risk assessment, was used to identify the most appropriate remedial targets for the site. The scheme required the following elements:

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