Excavated Material: Understanding the Elements Compromising Soil Cleanliness

Contaminated soil can compromise the environment if not properly handled and disposed of correctly. Therefore, if you are planning on excavating your property for construction, renovation or landscaping work, you should think about the disposal options for your excavated waste. In general, if your soil is clean, you can reuse it within your worksite for applications such as backfilling and gardening. You can also sell the material for reuse in other properties for land development. However, if your soil has significant pollutants, you must make sure it is disposed of to prevent the spread of contamination. Here are the elements which indicate that your waste soil is not clean and cannot be handled as virgin excavated natural material.

Chemical Residues 

Your excavated material cannot be categorised as clean soil if there are chemical residues. In simple terms, your land is contaminated if the ground has manufactured chemicals or even process residues. Often, these pollutants are linked to the previous usage of the lot. Therefore, you should perform a thorough review. There are numerous land applications which can lead to the contamination of soil. If your property has ever been used for industrial, commercial or agricultural purposes in the past, you should consider collecting samples and having them tested for chemical residues.

Sulphate Ores

Excavated soil with sulphate ores or related compounds cannot be handled like clean or virgin waste. In general, acid sulphate earth has numerous detrimental effects. If the material is reused in the worksite or sold for other applications, it will cause significant problems. For instance, if it is applied around flora and fauna, the acidity will deter growth and cause the death of sensitive organisms. Also, sulphates have a corrosive effect on buildings. If the soil is applied near concrete or steel buildings, premature degradation will occur. When planning your excavation project, you should check the acid sulphate risk maps from your local council before formulating a disposal plan.

Natural Asbestos

Asbestos is a natural mineral which has hazardous effects when inhaled. Typically, if the fibres of the material are inhaled, the respiratory system will be damaged, and the affected individual could develop lung cancer or asbestosis. Therefore, you should check the local asbestos risk maps to determine if your land contains this dangerous material. High-risk areas are assumed to be contaminated, but you can have your soil tested for confirmation. 

Waste soil management can be a challenging process. Therefore, you should consult your disposal expert for guidelines on handling your clean or contaminated excavated material. Contact your local excavation services for more information and assistance.