On-site treatment of contaminated soils still accounts for only a fraction of all site remediation carried out in the UK. 'Dig and dump' - removal of contaminated material to licenced tips - is still developers' standard remediation technique.
Many insitu and exsitu treatments are still relatively unproven. Developers and investors are worried that expensive, potentially time consuming remediation will be ineffective, calling for off-site disposal anyway. Worse, they fear treatments will leave residual contamination. If, after development is completed, pollutants are found posing a threat to human health or the environment, a legal and financial nightmare will unfold.
Many of clients' anxieties about on-site remediation are unfounded, however. The public-private initiative, Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments, or CL: AIRE, is monitoring and verifying remediation technologies and research into the behaviour of contamination. When in future clients want to know if a technique will work or how effective site investigation and monitoring will be, they can draw on CL: AIRE data.
CL: AIRE has so far ratified seven demonstration projects - four technology demonstrations and three research projects.