What Are Environmental Remediation Services?
Environmental remediation refers to efforts that remove pollutants or contaminants from an area. This process is done in order to protect both human and ecological life from exposure and to reduce the risk of the spread to surrounding environments. Environmental remediation procedures are carried out by experts, typically after an environmental event such as an oil spill or to reclaim an area after years of pollution.
Solutions for environmental remediation
When environmental remediation is required, experts should be contacted to organize and execute remediation from start to finish, whilst adhering to the current rules and regulations. A typical solution for environmental remediation will consist of the following:
1. Site assessment
The first step will be to evaluate the contamination site. This will help to inform the best approach for addressing the contamination as each type will require different processes and remediation equipment. During this phase, the area will the mapped and data will be gathered in the form of reports and photographs and if necessary, groundwater and soil sampling solutions will be utilized in order to evaluate the extent of the pollution.
2. Choosing the right environmental remediation solution
Following the assessment, the most appropriate method will be chosen to either remove or reduce the issue. The type of solution for environmental remediation will depend on the type of contaminant, the extent of the impact, what’s been affected, the geological conditions, the effectiveness of the solution, current regulatory guidelines, and cost. Some of the most common methods include:
• Excavation: this is a common procedure if the hazardous material is located in the soil. Excavation will involve removing the affected soil and safely disposing of it
• Dredging: if the contamination affects surface water such as rivers, it may be necessary to dredge the river bottom to collect silt clay and other materials
• In-situ injections: this is where chemical oxidants are injected into groundwater or soil to remove contaminants
• Bioremediation: a process where microorganisms or certain plant types are used to remove or neutralize contaminants
• Chemical blending: new substances such as chemicals are introduced that are specifically formulated to blend and neutralize contaminants
• Product recovery: the removal of liquid or vapor-phase contaminants from the medium holding it
• Thermal desorption: if excavation isn’t thorough enough, thermal desorption technology may be used to collect the contamination. This uses a piece of environmental remediation equipment to separate contaminants from the soil, making collection and removal easier
• Pump and treat: this process is used for groundwater and is where the affected water is pumped so that it can be carefully filtered to remove contaminants
• Nano-remediation: for tricky contaminants in groundwater, nano-remediation may be necessary. This is a method that uses tiny reactive agents to degrade or destroy contaminants. Research is currently being carried out on the effectiveness of this technique for soil
• Soil vapor extraction: the injection of air or steam into the ground and extraction and treatment of vapors to purify soil or groundwater
• Soil encapsulation: this involves the permanent covering or capping of contaminated soil to prevent direct contact and leaching of pollutants by rainwater infiltration
The above methods are just some of the solutions for environmental remediation that may be deployed. Each approach is carefully chosen following a thorough assessment in order to yield the best possible results.
3. Selecting appropriate safety measures
Before getting started with the remediation, specialists will assess what safety measures need to be carried out to protect both the crew and community from potential injuries, hazards and exposure to chemicals. In some cases, rezoning may be a necessary safety step whilst the work is carried out and occasionally, for a period afterwards too. If rezoning is required, environmental remediation services will communicate with public officials and inform them of how it may impact their daily lives.
Once all the necessary preparations have been carried out, the remediation will begin using the most appropriate technique. This work will be performed whilst abiding by the current laws and regulations in place.
5. Final assessment
Following the environmental remediation, a final assessment should always be performed. This will include further analysis such as water and soil sampling solutions to determine if the results were successful. If contamination is still found at this stage, it will be necessary to deploy further remediation techniques to tackle the issue.
For more information on this topic, read our article on the purpose of environmental remediation next.