Author(s): Rivett MO, Petts J, Butler B, Martin I
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Abstract Remediation of contaminated land and groundwater is of common international concern. The context and approach taken to the problem are, however, country-specific. A survey of remedial activity occurring within England and Wales over the period 1996-1999 was commissioned by the Environment Agency (for England and Wales) to establish a baseline against which future trends in remedial activity could be judged. This paper: explains the context of contaminated land and groundwater remediation in England and Wales (Britain); provides an overview of the 1996-1999 survey of remedial activity, discussing its findings within its legislative and institutional context; and, discusses the survey results of significance to the management of contaminated land and groundwater internationally. The survey obtained specific data from 367 remediated sites supplemented by general data from a further 1189 contaminated (not necessarily remediated) sites. The survey aimed to be, and was indicative of remediation practice, and did not seek to identify every remediation scheme operating. Previous anecdotal evidences were generally confirmed. Civil engineering-based techniques dominated and were used at 94\% of sites with in situ techniques (predominantly vapour extraction-based) on 16\% and ex situ on just 5\%. Although disposal to landfill was dominant and occurred at over 80\% of sites, integrated use of multiple techniques was common. Remediation was predominantly of soil (rather than water), development-based, designed to protect human health and reflected national development-led and 'suitable for use' policies. Lessons of international relevance from the survey and general British experience are drawn concerning remediation technique selection, regulatory and financial support of innovative remediation techniques and demonstration sites, competent use of risk-based approaches to allow pragmatic remediation and effective use of quality guidelines, need for effective guidance to highlight water quality issues, the necessity of post remediation monitoring to prove remediation effectiveness and the keeping of remediation databases.
This article was published in J Environ Manage
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation