Further description:- United Kingdom  Contaminants 

Glossary Entry:- United Kingdom  Contaminants
Any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter that is in, on or under the 
land and that has the potential to cause harm to human health or the environment.
Overview
In the UK, a contaminant is 'a substance that is in, on or under the land and that has the potential 
to cause harm or to cause pollution of controlled waters'
as defined in 'CLR11 Model procedures
for the management of land contamination' published by Defra and the Environment Agency. Contaminants could be chemical, biological, or radiological material and may be in the form of
solids, leachable material dissolved in water, non-aqueous phase liquids (eg chlorinated solvents),
gases or vapours. Contaminants are often associated with human activities at or near to the site,
such as industrial processes or waste treatment, but they may also come from natural sources, such
as radon for volcanic rocks etc. The presence of contaminants does not mean that harm is occuring, this depends on many factors including
the concentration and properties of each contaminant.
1. General Approach
 
          
In the UK contaminants have been found at sites with a wide range of previous uses, including agricultural 
land, former factories, mines and quarries, transport depots, power generation and distribution
sites and waste treatment facilities. The type and concentration of contamination at each site is
a reflection of factors such as the activities and processes that occurred at or near the site, the
age of the site and local geology, hydrogeology and hydrology. In some areas of the UK, naturally-occuring substances or materials may be present that are capable
of causing harm, such as radiactive radon gas from igneous rocks, explosive methane gas from coal
measures or peaty ground or elevated levels of arsenic or lead etc from the local rock formations.
However, the majority of contaminants are normally the result of human activities such as:
  • importing and dumping of waste materaials
  • depositing or burying waste materials generated by activities onsite
  • deposition or accumulation of materials used or produced by previous or current activities
    on or near the site including the fall-out of emissions to air, runoff from stockpiles and general
    spillage of materials etc.
It is also important to appreciate that many contaminants are mobile within the environment in
the form of gaseous, liquid or dissolved phases. The movement of such contaminants will be determined
by the physicochemical properties of the contaminant and the local soil and groundwater processes
that control contaminant fate and transport. In 1996, DOE (now part of the DEFRA published a series
of nearly 50 “Industry Profiles”, which provide information on the history of different industrial
activities in the UK and identify the likely potential contamination problems to be found on the sites
involved. These document may be availabel for download in the near future. Although not exhaustive,
these are an excellent source of information regarding likely contaminants found at sites within
the UK. However, additional information collection will be required to identify all contaminants
that could potentially be present at a site and could therefore pose a risk to receptors. More recently, Defra and the Environment Agency have have published
'Potential Contaminants for the Assessment of Land Contamination - CLR8'
, which identifies
a list of metals, semi-metals and non-metals, inorganic chemicals and organic contaminants due
to their widespread use and / or potential to harm human health and the environment. However, this
publication is not intended as a guide to contaminants likely to be present at sites in the UK, but is
intended to help guide and focus research and guideline development by the relevant authorities
in the UK.
 
2. Policy and Regulation
2.1 Policy


 
        
2.2 Regulation


 
       
3. Funding
Site Project Funding


 
        
R&D funding
Soil Protection
Research Type: Applied

Topics: Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, Remediation options, Remediation options overview Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview Soil, Soil Overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


Soil Biodiversity Programme
Research Type: Basic

Topics: Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Soil, Soil Overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


URGENT (Urban Regeneration and the Environment)
Research Type: Basic

Topics: Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview Soil, Soil Overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


'Infrastructure and Environment' programme and 'Engineering' programme
Research Type: Basic

Topics: Engineering, Infrastructure and Environment, Brownfields, Contaminated land, Groundwater protection, Funding, Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


Bioremediation LINK Programme
Research Type: Applied, Basic

Topics: (1) To understand and exploit natural attenuation in groundwater and soil (demonstration, modelling, prediction, definition of operating window). (2) To improve engineered in-situ bioremediation, interfacing microbiology with engineering and hydrogeology; dealing with heterogeneity, improved process control and optimisation. (3) To translate the results of laboratory studies into the field (scale-up). (4) To position bioremediation within a risk management framework - bioavailability, risk-based end points and residue behaviour. (5) To develop the ability to monitor in-situ microbial processes. (6) To understand the constraints on in-situ microbial processes. (7) To integrate bioremediation with other technologies. (8) To quantify human health impacts of bioremediation and develop surrogate testing. (9) To address socio-economic issues- perception of bioremediation technologies and decision-support mechanisms.

Submitted by: Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?

Full Details |


Land Contamination
Research Type: Applied

Topics: site assessment for land contamination, decision support tools for risk management, remediation of contaminated soils, sediments, and groundwater, Brownfields Contaminated land, Contaminated land overview Contaminated land, funding Groundwater protection, Groundwater protection overview

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


Defra Web Page on: Contaminated Land - funding
Research Type: Demonstration

Topics: There are several measures which support the clean up of contaminated land, and these are described on this web page

Submitted by: Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?

Full Details |



Market Information


 
    
4: Management tools / decision support and guidance

No further information available

5. Authors


 
    
6. Acknowledgements