Soil Environment Services

Soil Surveys, Soil Investigations, Site Investigations and Environmental Land Surveys

Contamination assessment of soils

Risk assessment work can range from a preliminary risk assessment (desktop study) at a site through to detailed Phase 3 intrusive investigations involving drilling to depth. In all circumstances, the primary goal is to determine all the risks from contamination at a site but with a phased and economical approach. This work is undertaken for private home owners, developers and large organisations.


Our aim is to ensure your site is risk-assessed to the exact requirements of the local planning authority and the Environment Agency as quickly as possible. Our assessments are not off-the-shelf contaminated land surveys that can leave more questions than answers. We engage in dialogue immediately with the regulatory authorities and manage all the land contamination issues needed to gain your planning permission or assess any liabilities.


A typical assessment incorporates and evaluates the findings from a preliminary risk assessment (desktop study) and a site survey. The preliminary risk assessment (desktop study) investigation includes information detailing the history of the site together with any previous reports or correspondence. Following this, a site visit is undertaken to inspect ground conditions, talk with appropriate persons and check on surrounding land uses.


The risk assessment is designed within the source/pathway/receptor framework for contaminated site investigation as outlined in CLR 11, Model Procedures for the Management of Land Contamination and carried out on-site with reference to BS10175, Investigation of Potentially Contaminated Sites – Code of Practice. This framework, in its broadest sense, outlines a dynamic methodology for assessing risk which focuses on a Conceptual Site Model (CSM), the ultimate aim being to pronounce a site suitable for use and if not, the numerical and/or qualitative value of any risk.


A conceptual site model (CSM) is developed with a view to examining the potential risks given the intended operations on, and future use of, the site. The CSM describes the significant parameters, characteristics and processes at the site which have relevance to the likely risk of contamination. An effective CSM requires good quality and relevant information which can then be used within the Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment model (CLEA) and/or for consideration with information from the Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) working group recommendations or other approved risk assessment procedures and models such as RISC4.


Reporting will be in a format following the guidance documents recommendations, which in most cases will require separate sections on:


  • sources
  • pathways
  • receptors
  • conceptual site model
  • uncertainties
  • risk evaluation


Please contact us if you require this type of investigation.