What is Contaminated Land Remediation?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 May 2020
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Also known as land reclamation, contaminated land remediation is the process of taking land that has become unusable for some reason, and implementing a plan that ultimately makes that land usable once more. In some cases, this process means removing contaminants that have rendered the land unfit for use. At other times, the process requires little in the way of decontamination, but does involve a great deal of cultivation and the introduction of new elements as a way to recycle the land and allow it to be productive once more.

Contaminated land remediation can take on a number of forms. One common example has to do with environmental cleanup. This often involves clearing industrial waste from the surface of the land as a first step. Depending on the nature of the contamination, it may be necessary to remove and treat several layers of soil, assuming that some of the contamination has leached into the land and is threatening to affect the water table in the area. Once the land is decontaminated, it may be used for several purposes that were not possible before, such as growing crops or becoming the site of a new residential neighborhood.

In order to effectively engage in the task of contaminated land remediation, it is necessary to first assess the condition of the land itself. This usually involves the immediate removal of foreign debris from the surface of the land, followed by assessment of the topsoil. Depending on the results of the assessment, further testing may be required to determine the nature and extent of the contamination. From there, it is possible to implement specific processes to complete the reclamation project. While cleansing the soil or replacing nutrients that were lost through chemicals or gradual soil depletion is often possible, there are times when the soil must be removed and new soil brought in from another location.

The purpose of contaminated land remediation is to correct damage that has been done in the past, and make it possible for what amounts to barren or wasted land to be restored to a state where it is useful and safe for human habitation. Often, this process can take years to accomplish, especially if the damage to the local environment is significant. While in some cases all the contamination cannot be removed, it is often possible to utilize various contaminated land remediation strategies to create a situation where enough of the damage is reversed that nature can correct the remainder of the problem over a few generations. This helps to ensure that the land is ultimately fit for use once again.


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