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Heavy metal or hard rock — both sound good to us! What do you think of heavy metal and hard rock? We’re not talking music, but rather the two most problematic components of soil contamination. Whatever your musical tastes, in this case it’s unlikely you’re a fan. But as Diarmaid Connaire, Business Development Manager from waste management specialist CDEnviro, explains, his company doesn’t have a problem with either.

C

leaning up, investing in

Land is now considered contaminated

and re-using contaminated

when substances it contains could cause

brownfield sites — of which

‘significant harm to people or protected

there are an estimated

species’ or ‘significant pollution of surface

80,000 to 100,000 in Aus-

waters or groundwater’. This contamination

tralia — protects human

is a particular problem when trying to bring

health and the environment. It also improves

brownfield sites back into use. Decontami-

the appearance of the area and reduces

nation is therefore an important economic

pressure to develop unspoiled green spaces.

factor as well as an environmental one.

With benefits such as the reduction in fuel an urban area to a brownfield site rather

Emerging solutions for effective land remediation

than to a greenfield site further afield, and

The contamination includes heavy metals,

economic benefits including rising property

such as cadmium, lead, chromium, copper

prices nearby, you have a compelling argu-

and zinc — either on the soil or at elevated

ment for redevelopment.

levels within it — which can result in prob-

consumption resulting from travelling within

However, from the first industrial revolution in Europe until as recently as the 1980s,

20 Sustainability Matters - Jun/Jul 2017

lems with processing and therefore high disposal costs of waste materials.

chemicals used in industrial processes have

In addition to this man-made issue —

led to widespread soil pollution. This is the

heavy metals are naturally present in soil,

result of spillages, mismanaged industrial

but rarely in more than trace amounts —

sites and unforeseen consequences of using

remediating land is also complicated by

materials previously thought to be harmless.

hard rock which can be large, abrasive and

Often chemicals were simply poured down

difficult to process.

drains or onto land, where they leeched into

Neither of these issues are new, and

the soil and groundwater, resulting in long-

there are solutions available, but it is unusual

term damage and leaving a toxic legacy.

for heavy metals and hard rock to exist in

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Sustainability Matters Jun/Jul 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Jun/Jul 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...