Petroleum Contaminated Soil: Now What?

Petroleum Contaminated SoilYou’ve discovered the site you’re working on has contaminated soil. What do you do? Usually you have about 30 days to treat the soil or remove it.

Often times this contaminated soil is discovered when an underground oil tank is removed (think old gas stations). Petroleum contaminated soil is a serious environmental concern, if the contaminated soil goes untreated it can lead to groundwater contamination.

You have 2 choices when it comes to soil remediation, you can treat the soil in-place or at an authorized treatment facility (like Westside Environmental). If you decide to send your soil to an authorized treatment facility, like Westside Environmental, there are usually 2 ways the soil can be treated: thermal or aeration.

In order to have your soil treated at a facility you first must fill out an application which provides the facility with information about where your petroleum contaminated soil originated from, and what it’s contamination levels are. The facility will then review your application and determine if your contaminated soil can be treated at their facility. Then, your soil is removed from your site, and sent to the facility. Once there your involvement with the soil is over, unless you plan on reusing the treated soil, in which case you would work with the facility to coordinate the delivery back to your site.

Thermal Soil Treatment

A facility heats the soils to destroy or volatile organic chemicals, which change into gases and are captured and cleaned up. This treatment type usually takes longer and there is less certainty about the treatment because the process is difficult to verify.

Soil Aeration

This is usually the less expensive way to remediate petroleum contaminated soils. The process involves tilling or using piping and pumps to push and pull air throughout the soil to insure the treatment is effective in reducing contaminants to an acceptable level.

Source: PCS Handling Options

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