What is Environmental Remediation?

Environmental remediation involves removing the chemical or radiation pollutants from the environment. This can include the contamination of both surface water and groundwater, as well as the soil or sediment.

If a property is suspected of contamination a site assessment must be done. This assessment generally begins with a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. The history of the property and how it was used will direct the assessment plan of action and type of chemical analysis that needs to be done. It’s also important is to consider possible contamination of nearby properties; for example, a nearby mine could contaminate the groundwater in an entire area. Some areas are more susceptible to contamination than others, and the land can be contaminated from a wide variety of sources, including some natural.

Groundwater Remediation

This involves addressing contaminated water that’s below the ground, such as well water. Some contaminants can be directly removed, while contaminants can be converted into harmless by-products. Fertilizer and pesticide runoff from farms, mining operations, and industrial spills can cause groundwater to become polluted. It’s important to understand that an underwater aquifer can be a route for pollutants since the water can flow for many miles underground.

Surface Water Remediation

Surface water can be similar to groundwater remediation. However, it’s much easier to access. Surface water can be exposed to many different sources of pollution, such as a factory or an oil spill downstream. Still water, such as a pond, is also a natural breeding ground for bacteria and insects such as mosquitoes. Surface water remediation is very important because people are very likely to come in contact with it.

Soil Remediation

Soil can easily become contaminated. Pollutants such as heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and creosote can all contaminate your property. Soil contamination can have serious, long-term effects on the entire ecosystem. Animals can absorb the pollutants in the soil, causing them to die. People can also become seriously ill due to soil contamination.

There are several methods of remediating soil, such as using specific kinds of bacteria to eat up the contamination or using heat to achieve thermal soil remediation. However, one of the most types of soil remediation is to remove the contaminated soil and replace it with clean soil.

Sediment Remediation

This is a mixture of both soils and water remediation. The EPA defines it as contaminated sand, soil, organic material, or other matter that collects at the bottom of a body of water. Sediment remediation is important since it can affect both the soil and water.

If you suspect a property that you won, or plan to buy has been contaminated, it’s highly recommended you have a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment performed, and if necessary, proceed with the necessary remediation.

Evan Shaner