Three Simple Guidelines for Identifying Contaminated Land

3 January 2019
 Categories: Business, Blog


The increase in population in most regions has led to an increased demand for commercial and residential buildings. Unfortunately, there is limited virgin land available for these types of developments. In recent years, the demand for land has been met through the use of former industrial land and other contaminated areas. Some pieces of land do not pose a risk because the hazardous residues in the soil can be degraded over time. However, in other cases, the danger in the soil might still be present. If such land is used for commercial or residential construction, the builders and the tenants will be affected. Here are simple steps to help you determine whether your land is contaminated before proceeding with your development.

Consider Property History

It is important to check the previous usage of your piece of land if you suspect contamination. In general, most lots are polluted because they were utilised for processes which required the use of dangerous chemicals. For instance, if the land had a factory or other industrial operation, there is a high risk of contamination. Petrol stations, landfills and even large agricultural operations also tend to leave dangerous chemical residues in soil. In addition, it is possible for your virgin land to be contaminated if there was a dangerous operation close to it. Pollutants can be spread through runoff, wind and groundwater.

Check the Local Records

You should consult your local council for records on contaminated areas if you suspect that a certain lot is polluted. There are certain regions which are known to have polluted soil due to heavy industrial and agricultural activities in the past. Also, some areas have a natural abundance of harmful compounds. For instance, asbestos is a mineral which is found naturally in some areas. You should check the records and find out whether the lot in question is listed. These records are particularly helpful before purchasing land for development.  

Commission Tests

If there is a high chance that your land is contaminated, you should plan on commissioning tests for concrete evidence. The testing process involves collecting samples from the specific sites and then having an analysis done in a laboratory. The report produced after testing will help you understand whether there is land contamination. If it is, the pollutants will be noted down. With this information, you can choose the best option for proceeding. For instance, you can opt for soil remediation if the environment assessment report indicates there is hope for complete rehabilitation.