Dq 510

Look at the UK definition of contaminated land given above in Section 5.1. What effect does this definition have on likely analytical schemes and subsequent data interpretation?

Answer

The definition includes the phrase 'actual and potential hazard'. Compounds or ions may be present in such low concentrations that they do not present a hazard unless they are known to bioconcentrate (see Section 2.3.1 earlier). Some estimation of the total quantity of the contaminant on the site is also necessary.

The physical and chemical forms of the materials (i.e. speciation) will need to be determined as they will affect whether a material will be released under given environmental conditions. Consider the difference in the toxicities of chromium (iii) and chromium (vi) discussed earlier in Section 4.3.7.

The definition is based on 'hazard to health'. Consideration has to be taken of the potential migration of the compounds and the location of target organisms or vulnerable sections of the environment. Sampling and analyses should then be concentrated on this route (see Section 2.6 above).

The interpretation of the data with respect to whether there is a 'actual or potential hazard to health' depends to a large extent on the end use of the land. The same analytical data can be interpreted in different ways according to its future use!

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