Soil remediation is the removal, in whole or in part, of contaminants in soil. It is essential for environmental and health reasons, or so that the soil can be restored to its original state and used again. it’s also used to clean up chemical spills in soil and contamination from dumps and toxic waste.
The impact of all types of soil contamination on the environment and human health are now well recognised. Soil remediation is therefore becoming increasingly mandated to prevent further environmental damage from pollutants in soil.
How soil contaminants impact the environment:
Soil contaminants are a huge source of widespread environmental pollution, through:
- Toxic substances and hydrocarbons leaching into groundwater and reservoirs.
- Soil erosion and run off into rivers and the ocean – with contaminants spreading, or gradually building to poisonous levels in rivers, wetlands and bays.
- Wind whipping up volatile contaminants from dry or degraded soil – adding significantly to air pollution, with the potential to spread highly toxic substances through the air
- Entering the food chain – directly impacting human health through vegetable and fruit that we eat, or indirectly through animals that eat the contaminated vegetation.
Soil remediation methods:
There are several soil clean-up methods commonly used – depending on the type and severity of the contamination. These fall into the following categories:
- Various chemical treatments used to remove and/or render contaminants inactive
- Stabilisation of soil and mineral waste (e.g. mine dumps)
- Decontamination or removal of sources of soil pollution.
- Landfill clean-ups and disposal of any soil that cannot be decontaminated.
- Restoration of healthy soil post decontamination – specifically for agriculture, but also for urban gardens, parks, schools and other public areas where waste has been buried in the past.
The various methods can be used to clean up most soil contaminations – from domestic to commercial (including agricultural) to mining waste and industrial soil pollution, from oil spills to widespread contamination from chemical residues in effluent, and from agricultural applications and waste.
Landfill clean-ups and disposal of any soil that cannot be decontaminated
Cleaning up oil contamination of soil:
One of the most common soil remediation services supplied to commercial, industrial, and private customers is the clean-up of oil.
Oil spills and leaching of oils from wastewater and dumps into soil can have devastating effects on the environment, coating and killing wildlife, polluting water and damaging (or killing) vegetation. Oil does not go away on it’s own, but, thankfully, we now have the technology and products to clean oil contaminants in soil.
Soil Remediation is achieved through the use of biological agents (microbes) in targeted products.
These products, and the process used. are both environmentally friendly; the soil restoration they can achieve makes a huge difference to the immediate and long-term health of the surrounding environment.
As with other soil remediation application, the microbes and bio-augmentation processes used effectively remove contaminants make the soil itself safe, as well as laying the groundwork for environmental recovery and other restoration efforts.
What thorough soil remediation does for the environment(and human health)
- Revitalises the soil through purification, aeration and the removal of toxic substances that impair natural biological processes in the soil.
- Makes it possible for the soil to be used again for agriculture
- Makes the soil (and surrounding environment) safe for humans and animals
- Prevents continued run off of toxic chemicals and hydrocarbons into water bodies
- Prevents further airborne contamination of the surrounding areas
Soil clean-up one of the most crucial and effective ways in which we can correct or mitigate the environmental damage of existing soil contamination, in addition to preventing further environmental impacts.
Soil remediation is therefore a core undertaking within broader efforts to restore environment around the globe.