a substance which is located in, on or under the land and has
the potential to cause harm to human health, water resources
or the wider environment. The contamination derives from
point or diffuse sources.
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Risk assessment of contaminated sites depends
fundamentally on the data available about the characteristics
of the site, including contaminant sources, pathways and
the potential receptors that may be at risk. The ultimate
aim of a site investigation is to provide appropriate and
reliable data against which to assess risks to chosen receptors.
It is required to gather all the information about contaminant
sources and expected behaviour needed for a complete assessment.
Contaminants may be present within different media such
as soils, groundwater, surface waters, sediments, flora,
fauna, and indoor or outdoor air; they may be found in the
solid, liquid or gaseous phases. Sources of contamination
are current and former industrial sites, waste disposal
and landfill sites, former military sites, disposal of
sludges on agricultural area.