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Three Clean-Up Options for Contaminated Soil

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Soil contamination occurs when hazardous substances are mixed with the natural composition of the earth. The pollution is mainly in form of man-made chemical liquids or solids that cause significant alteration to the land. The modification can result in damage of flora as well as hazards to human and animal health. In addition, the dangerous compounds may poison the underground water and destroy the structural foundations of buildings.

The primary sources of contaminants in soil are industrial operations, general waste disposal activity and agricultural treatments. The most common pollutants that you might find in your land include pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, asbestos, radioactive materials and corrosive liquids. If you have a contaminated plot that you would like to use in construction or agriculture, consider using one of these outlined clean-up options.

Excavate and Fill

The most effective way to get rid of contaminated soil is to excavate the land and remove the layers of affected material. This technique is ideal when the land is polluted with radioactive, corrosive, reactive and even combustive chemicals. In addition, the option can be used when the soil has poor drainage or the ground is generally unsuitable for supporting a building after construction. Ideally, the contaminated soil is removed and disposed in special landfills, away from human settlements. The site is filled with clean earth which can be purchased as gravel, top soil, rubble and even sand and clay.

Thermal Remediation

Thermal remediation is an ideal treatment for soils with chemical contaminants which are sensitive to high temperatures. Basically, the method involves introducing heat into the soil, such that the subsurface temperature is high. The level of heat used on your land will depend on the specific type of compound in the soil. The contaminants will be volatised out of the ground and extracted as vapour. There are different proprietary technologies used in thermal remediation, so discuss your options with your contractor.


Bioremediation is a treatment plan which involves the use microbial activity in eliminating pollutants. In simple terms, some microorganisms can digest organic chemicals, making them harmless. If you choose to use this technique, you may need to purchase commercial microflora for the task. In some cases, the existing ones can be stimulated to increase activity and reproduction. There are variant techniques that are commonly used in dealing with heavy metal contamination. Phytoremediation and mycoremediation uses plants and fungi respectively to extract materials like lead, cadmium, zinc and chromium.

The ideal treatment technique will depend on the particular soil structure, so commission an analysis from a company like Eastern Plant Hire before taking action.