Soil Remediation Services Through An Innovative Approach
AEL believes that remediation of impacted soils doesn’t have to be a guessing game.
Too often, site owners are left with incomplete data about their site, requiring them to spend valuable time and money on multiple rounds of testing. Remediation traditionally involves making assumptions about the boundaries of contamination and then sampling at the presumed boundaries. This method relies on time consuming and expensive laboratory tests which provides no ability to direct the investigation or remediation in the field. Multiple rounds of testing occur when presumptions about the boundary of contamination are wrong, and more samples must be taken and tested. This process may repeat many times until a clean sample is found indicating the border of the contamination.
AEL takes an innovative approach to remediation using on-site testing and provides site owners with confidence in their site management. The approach that AEL takes to contaminated soil clean-up is to reduce uncertainties with proven testing methods
What is On-Site Testing?
On-site testing is a series of tools and technologies that allow AEL’s environmental remediation team to take a soil sample from a property and immediately analyze it for a wide range of compounds. These compounds include hydrocarbons (using ultraviolet fluorescence; UVF), metals such as lead and arsenic (using x-ray fluorescence; XRF), as well as volatile organic compounds and PCBs with other tools.
The benefit of on-site testing during a contaminated site clean-up is that the AEL team can immediately know what areas need further exploration or excavation. Instead of guessing that the boundary of the impact has been reached (sometimes using smell or sight to identify oils in the soil) the AEL team can be confident that the soil is clean because the on-site testing results showed that the soil meets allowable limits.
Once on-site testing shows the soil is clean, a select few samples are sent to the laboratory for confirmation. In screening the soil as they go, the AEL team is able to save the client money by finding the contamination border in a single sampling program (reducing the need for multiple rounds of sampling), and sending fewer samples for laboratory testing.
Methods of Remediation
On-site testing is applicable to many of the industry standard methods in Ontario of remediating a contaminated property.
The most common approach to remediation is dig and dump or excavation/disposal remediation. As the name suggest, this method involves removing contaminated soil from a site and bringing it to a landfill for proper disposal. On-site testing allows the environmental consultant to be confident that all impacted soil has been removed before backfilling the excavation with clean soil. As many more samples are taken using on-site testing, the AEL team can also better pinpoint where the edge of contamination is, reducing the likelihood of disposing of clean material.
Other methods of remediation that are practiced by AEL include:
- Biological remediation, where living organisms such as bacteria are grown in the soil to metabolize or break down contaminants
- Chemical remediation, like oxidation or reduction, where impacts are chemically transformed to be non-harmful or more easily removed
- Mass transfer or air sparging, in which hydrocarbons are volatilized
- Containment or barrier treatment, when a physical barrier is put in place to keep contamination to a limited area and prevent spread