When manmade chemicals make their way into the natural soil environment, contaminated soil is the result. Whether this contamination stems from industrial activity, agricultural chemicals, or other improperly disposed waste, compromised soil can have devastating environmental effects. At Environmental Works, our Investigation/Remediation (I/R) Department handles dozens of contaminated soil cleanups every year, including long-term projects with years-long remediation efforts. But while these projects vary widely in scope, they tend to involve just a few different types of soil remediation. Read on to find out more.
Types of Soil Remediation
What Is Soil Remediation?
First, what, exactly is soil remediation? At its core, this kind of environmental effort involves the act of removing contaminants – things like pesticides, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals – from soil. Cleaning these chemicals helps maintain positive dirt, water, and air quality, which is crucial for a healthy environment. While remediation projects can vary greatly in scope, there are only a few main types of soil remediation utilized by today’s environmental experts.
Bioremediation is one of the most common types of soil remediation. During this process, environmental experts use specialized bacteria to absorb and break down pollutants in the soil. After the bacteria consumes every last bit of the pollutant, the bacteria naturally die off, leaving behind a healthier environment.
Think of soil remediation as a quarantine procedure. Where some types of remediation involve removing contaminants from the earth, encapsulation involves isolating the contaminants to keep them from spreading. One example of soil encapsulation is the act of mixing soil with lime, cement, and concrete, which prevents the contaminants from touching any additional soil. Of course, encapsulation may not be the best approach if the soil in question is meant as, say, farmland. Once the soil is encapsulated, it cannot be used for growing. Despite its unique nature, EWI has several case studies in soil encapsulation, including a recent partnership with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Thermal Soil Remediation
Thermal remediation is just what it sounds like: the act of heating contaminated material to its evaporation point. As you might imagine, environmental experts must heat the soil to incredibly high temperatures – often somewhere between 650 F and 900 F. After the soil is thoroughly heated, it is discharged to a designated cooling unit. There, the soil is mixed with water to reduce its temperature and ensure dust control. Finally, the material is discharged for testing and recycling. This procedure may or may not be a fit for some scenarios, depending on the levels of pollution, permeability of the dirt, and pH factor of the dirt.
Our Remediation Services
Soil remediation is one of the most crucial elements of environmental protection we can offer in our rapidly evolving world. Our approach to cleanup technology weighs several critical factors including the extent of the contamination, geological conditions, proven effectiveness, and overall cost of each effort. We have years of experience with various remedial technologies including the following:
- Chemical blending with soil
- Soil vapor extraction
- Chemical soil stabilization
- Soil encapsulation
Though soil remediation efforts obviously differ greatly in scope, there are, in reality, just a few proven remediation strategies. Our team is equipped to assess any and all soil remediation efforts using these protocols, effectively removing contamination from a variety of settings.
Do you need remediation support? Give Environmental Works a call. We have in-house experts ready to help. We will walk you through the specifics of your organization’s planning and compliance needs in terms of soil remediation. Our team can also work with you to develop an ongoing plan for your business to ensure ongoing environmental responsibility. When you’re ready, you can contact EWI online or call 877-827-9500 for more information.