Types of Soil Remediation

Created on:

December 28, 2022

Contaminated soil is very harmful not only to the environment, but also to all living things. From animals ingesting soil to humans breathing dusts or eating food grown in contaminated soil, it is possible to experience harmful effects of soil contamination. To avoid these harmful effects, soil remediation services are becoming more common. 

Soil remediation is a complex endeavor, but fortunately, it’s also fairly straightforward. There are several techniques that are used to treat contaminated soil and remove or reduce the amount of contaminants present in it. In this blog post, we’ll break down these different types of soil remediation methods and discuss how they work. Before knowing the types of soil remediation, you must understand what it is. 

What is Soil Remediation? 

Soil remediation is the removal of contaminants from soil. The types of contaminants that are removed include pesticides, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, petroleum products, lead, asbestos and radon. Once removed, the contaminants are typically transported to a facility that safely and properly dispose of them. This process is done by physical, chemical or thermal methods.

Physical methods include:

  • Physical removal - using heavy machinery to remove contaminated dirt; this may be done either on-site or off-site at an approved disposal site
  • In situ burial - placing contaminated dirt into a lined trench and covering it with non-contaminated material (a liner) before backfilling with clean soil

Chemical methods include:

  • Bioremediation - using microorganisms (microbes) to breakdown organic compounds in the soil; bioremediation has been used at many hazardous waste sites across the country because microbes can degrade hazardous compounds in an environmentally safe manner

Thermal Soil Remediation

Thermal treatment soil remediation technologies are used at facilities to treat contaminants in soils at hazardous waste sites. Thermal treatment accelerates the rate at which contaminant molecules degrade into less harmful components.

Examples of thermal treatment technologies include:

  • Pyrolysis (pyro) where organic material is heated in an oxygen-starved environment, causing it to decompose
  • Gasification where carbon-containing materials are converted into syngas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen) and then transformed into liquid biofuels
  • Incineration where solid wastes are burned in a high temperature process that breaks down the waste material chemically by oxidizing it with air or oxygen gas

Bioremediation Techniques

Bioremediation is a group of environmental remediation technologies that utilize living organisms to remediate contaminated media, including soil, groundwater, sediment and surface water. Bioremediation is used to treat soil, groundwater, sediment and surface water. Bioremediation is a relatively new technology and its application in the field is largely limited by the lack of available commercial products for use in treating contamination. There are several established types of bioremediation processes including:

  • Phytoremediation
  • Biotransformation
  • Photolytic degradation

Soil Encapsulation Services

Soil encapsulation involves coating the soil with a layer of asphalt or cement to prevent contact with humans and animals. This method is sometimes used when contaminated soil cannot be treated on-site because of cost considerations or other factors, such as high levels of contamination or limited space for operations. Encapsulation is usually only used for temporary solutions or for slight contamination.

Soil remediation is an important part of our daily lives. It can be done safely and efficiently when you know what you’re doing. With multiple options on how to remediate, it is possible to create a safe soil near any property. If you'd like more information about how to clean up soil in your area, talk with a professional who can help you determine which type of remediation is best suited for your situation. Alliance Environmental Systems has years of experience in soil remediation. Our team helps anyone in need of environmental remediation services. 

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