Guide to Environmental Remediation

Remediation crew cleaning up job site

The detrimental effects of environmental contamination continue to expand globally due to the frequent disposal of hazardous waste and materials from companies in many industries. In fact, according to the most recent data from EPA (2019), nearly 35 million tons of hazardous waste were reported in the United States alone, most of which is wastewater. 

Environmental remediation is one way to combat this problem. Environmental remediation refers to a set of processes used to remove pollutants from sediment, soil, water, and other ecological foundations in order to remedy and protect the existing environment. 

How Environmental Remediation Can Help Your Company

Ecological restoration doesn’t only make the world a safer, healthier place— it also indirectly and directly benefits your business in the following ways:

  • Ensures ongoing compliance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations.
  • Mitigates environmental risks/allows for redevelopment and reuse of land to generate long-term savings. 
  • Enhances corporate image by showing a commitment to ecological restoration.
  • Improves workplace safety and employee health.

Types of Environmental Remediation

There are in-situ (on-site) and ex-situ (off-site) bioremediation protocols involved with all types of environmental restoration. In-situ correction primarily requires monitoring and managing biodiversity on-site, while ex-situ practices involve relocating and treating contaminants off-site. 

While there are various sub-disciplines within the environmental remediation realm, the three primary types are sediment, soil, and ground/surface water restoration.

Sediment Remediation

Sediments are mixtures of clay, hydrated oxides, organic material, soil, and water. Sediment remediation involves simultaneously using various biological, chemical, and physical processes to reduce current contamination levels, effectively converting the site to a less dangerous state.

In-situ sediment restoration techniques include capping, chemical treatments, installing containment barriers, stabilization, and solidification. Ex-situ methods include biological treatments, bio-slurry, chelation, composting, high-pressure oxidation, soil washing, thermal destruction, and vitrification.

Soil Remediation

Direct and indirect contact with or ingestion of polluted soil is a health risk for humans, wildlife, and other organisms. Environmental remediation companies restore soil integrity in different environments, including urban and rural raw material extraction areas, mining heaps, open pit mines, peatlands, quarries, and closed mining operations that have subsided into the earth.

Soil-based ecological restoration addresses numerous factors that can contaminate the earth. Soil remediation includes biological, chemical, physical, and thermal processes to reduce the presence of heavy metals, herbicides, hydrocarbons, pesticides, petroleum, and radioactive residue.

Soil remediation begins with a three-part site assessment process that involves gathering and interpreting data, collecting and investigating soil samples, and determining, simulating, and implementing effective remediation methods.

Groundwater & Surface Water Remediation

Land remediation on site

All living systems require water to remain sustainable. Groundwater and surface water remediation focuses on managing water sources to keep them potable or at least safe for their intended industrial and commercial purposes.

Groundwater, found in large aquifers within permeable subsurface sediment, soil, and rock, often contains arsenic, chromium, fluoride, iron, selenium and various other compounds, and elements that can be toxic. Other possible sources of water pollution include:

  • Graveyards
  • Chemical Spills
  • Landfills & Dumps
  • Stockpiles & Tailings
  • Airborne Particulates
  • Industrial Facility Disasters
  • Underground Storage Tanks
  • Fertilizers, Herbicides, & Pesticides
  • Septic Tanks & Other Waste Disposal Symptoms

Surface water from streams, lakes, rivers, and wetlands can become contaminated by animal and human waste, acid mining drainage, agricultural and industrial waste, and fuel and other sources of chemical pollution from improperly maintained commercial and personal fishing, recreational, and transport vessels.

The primary protocols involved with water remediation include the use of barrier systems, biodegradation, interceptor systems, and pumping systems.

Process of Environmental Remediation

Effective environmental remediation companies take multiple steps to restore sediment, soil, and water to pre-contaminated levels. The primary steps used are:

  1. Site Investigation & Assessment
  2. Remediation Plan Design
  3. Plan Simulation & Implementation
  4. Final Assessment
  5. Ongoing Monitoring

The process starts with a team of remediation specialists examining the site to discover which contaminants are present and their levels. A map is created of the work area, showing the locations of each pollutant found.

Once the entire site has been thoroughly investigated, the specialists determine the specific remediation methods needed. Techniques typically include dredging, excavation, nanoremediation, oxidation, pumping, soil vapor extraction, and thermal desorption, but other options exist if needed.

The remediation experts will also determine the proper safety measures needed to keep workers and community members safe from injury and prevent exposure to toxic substances. 

Environmental remediation companies also work with public officials to ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and protect the public.

After the work area has been remediated according to the project plan, a total site clean-up is performed, followed by a final site assessment to determine if the restoration was successful or if further correction is necessary. Lastly, ongoing site monitoring is performed to protect long-term interests.

Get Environmental Remediation Services From Archview Services

No matter what industry you’re in, the importance of environmental remediation cannot be understated. If you’re searching for remediation specialists, look no further than Archview Services. We’re a multi-disciplined contractor offering demolition, remediation, tank, industrial cleaning, and maintenance services. Our goal is to help you improve compliance, minimize risks, and ensure project success. 

Contact our supportive team today to learn more about our environmental remediation services or to schedule an on-site assessment.