The Origin Of Soil & Remediation

The process of soil remediation has been around since the Middle Ages, when it was used in the form of crop rotation for the purpose of restoring fertility to the soil. Today, however, remediation is required by industry laws to remove pollution or contaminants from soil, groundwater, sediment or surface water to prevent any impact on human health and the environment.

There are many methods of carrying out remediation, however these are generally categorized into ex-situ and in-situ variants. Ex-situ involves complete excavation of affected soils, while in-situ methods will treat the contamination without removal. Common methods of remediation include containment, pump-and-treat, extraction, stabilization/solidification, soil washing, air stripping, precipitation, vitrification, thermal desorption and biological remediation.

Remediation is often a condition for planning consent to develop a site, and work will halt until the correct measures have been made. A developer will need to conform to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which requires remediation to take place should contamination pose any level of risk.

Soil remediation is required in the event of accidental pollutant release, such as the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster which contaminated agricultural lands in a 30 km radius around the reactor. A process known as phytoremediation was started four years after the explosion, which involved introducing beneficial plants to the area. Plants such as daffodils and hemp are used to break down or degrade organic pollutants and stabilize metal contaminants by acting as filters or traps. This in-situ process will help to reduce contamination in the area without removing any of the affected soil, which would be a substantial amount in this instance.

However, workers carrying out any remediation method are exposed to a potentially toxic environment, and will need the correct equipment to ensure safety.  One vital piece of equipment for such work is a gas detector that can monitor VOCs.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), explosive gases and toxic industrial chemicals are all likely to be found in soil remediation environments. Ensuring worker safety throughout all stages of environmental remediation is vital, which is why the use of an appropriate gas detector is highly recommended. Uncontrolled subsurface gas emissions pose a number of risks to both humans and the environment. Therefore, the risk of any ground gases should be continuously measured and assessed throughout the process – particularly on sites close to in-filled land or mine workings.

RAE Systems is a trusted vendor to global environmental protection agencies, and their range of transportable detectors are ideal for measuring the levels of VOCs when carrying out soil remediation. These detectors include the MultiRAE Pro, MiniRae 3000 and UltraRAE 3000, all of which are easily transported and reused as needed. RAE Systems’ PID devices include parts per billion (ppb) precision, which will provide more detailed information about the levels of toxicity in the atmosphere.

Each of these gas detectors has the capability for wireless data transfer, allowing real-time updates to be sent to a safety officer for improved awareness and immediate response to any threats nearby. This allows data to be monitored without the need for an employee to manually check each detector.

Ensure the safety of your workers in an unstable environment by equipping them with an advanced Rae Systems detection device, offering  quick and accurate measurements of any toxic gases in the immediate area. You can find a selection of Rae Systems’ gas detectors here at Rockall, designed to provide safety to your workers in a variety of applications. Take a look at our full selection of gas detectors and gas analysers to find the right equipment for you.

If you need more information or you have any enquiries, please contact us on 0845 3300 447 or email our team at

Posted by Laura Dronfield

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