Resolving land contamination issues for a site in West Lothian, UK
Paradigm Asset Management Group had encountered issues with a site in Broxburn, West Lothian, that it wanted to sell for redevelopment with knowledge and planning permission in place. The local council’s contaminated land officer had raised objections to the existing remediation strategy that were proving difficult to resolve. To avoid costly delays, a fresh approach was necessary, so the company commissioned RSK’s geoenvironmental team to undertake an independent peer review of the site investigation reports previously prepared by others.
The process began with a rigorous review of all the existing reports and reassessing soil testing data against RSK’s own in-house assessment criteria while taking into account current guidance on assessing risks to human health and the water environment. Statistical assessment methods applied to the data reduced both the number of contaminants and the number of samples showing exceedances. Each area of potential concern was then assessed against the earthworks design required to achieve the final development levels. The result of the revised assessment was that, rather than potentially having to cap the entire site to break pollutant linkages, remediation was reduced to the excavation of three small areas on the site.
RSK was also able to advise on the potential to reuse contaminated soil for the development in accordance with Scottish Environment Protection Agency waste guidance. The work was performed very quickly, which was assisted by proactively liaising with the regulatory authorities to discuss the proposed scope of work and findings to reduce the risk of delays in the planning and review process.
Following issue of the report, RSK consulted with the council’s contaminated land officer on the findings which in the council swiftly removing its objection. This enabled the sale of the site and planning approval to proceed on schedule to the satisfaction of all the parties involved.