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Big bucks ahead in toxic muck

INTRODUCTION OF the landfill directive later this year will generate huge workload for consultants and contractors specialising in land remediation, industry experts predicted this week.

The cost of removing contaminated soils from construction sites to licensed tips is expected to soar once the landfill directive comes into effect in July, said Environment Agency land policy manager Phil Crowcroft.

Brownfield clients will increasingly look to clean and reuse contaminated materials on site, he predicted.

Under the new legislation, contaminated soils will be classed as hazardous waste, Crowcroft said. Sites used to store hazardous waste must be lined, typically with 5m of clay.

Costs of lining and managing landfill are expected to soar and will be reflected in dramatic hikes in prices charged to clients.

Meanwhile, encapsulating contaminated soils on site - an increasingly popular strategy - will be difficult on all but the largest projects.

'Any site where encapsulation is carried out will need to be licensed as a hazardous waste landfill, and the 5m lining will turn what is conventionally a discrete mound into a mountain, ' Crowcroft commented.

Some 80% of material taken to landfill from construction sites is contaminated and will in future be classed as hazardous waste said director at consultant WSP Remediation, Daymion Jenkins. 'Landfill costs will go through the roof.'

Remediation of contaminated materials to standards that make them suitable for use on site will become highly competitive, he said.

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