Before remediation can begin on construction sites in NSW, it’s crucial to understand the scope of contamination with expert sampling & classification.
Many environmental remediation companies claim to provide this step as part of their remediation services, often at very competitive rates. However, for architects, town planners and builders looking for a remediation partner, the wrong choice can lead to rejected site investigation reports, lengthy delays and escalating costs.
Here are 4 critical questions to ask environmental service companies before you hire.
1. How comprehensive is the scope of work?
Unforeseen remediation factors are common for construction sites. Our environmental experts have unearthed issues like underground hydraulic oil tanks, concrete slabs, and asbestos while tackling different remediation tasks.
A comprehensive scope of work should outline all remediation required to validate your land free from contamination (or to acceptable levels). Environmental companies that offer a narrow scope of work, without reviewing other areas of potential environmental concern, may overlook problems that could be immediately addressed.
A thorough investigation of the site, including a desktop study of historical land use, will identify potential contamination. Land with a history of commercial and industrial use can often point to unseen contamination.
Ask your environmental remediation consultant if they run a historical investigation (desktop study) and on-site investigation as part of their due diligence to fully understand the scope of work needed to validate your site.
2. Why have they provided a cheap quote?
Environmental remediation companies that give quotes significantly lower than the competition should flag immediate concern. This may indicate insufficient testing and classification of contaminated soil, groundwater and structures before remediation begins.
Although remediation can be completed within days, the pre-investigation is a highly structured process that involves identifying the full extent of contamination to the required limits, which can differ by construction type (residential, commercial, industrial) and Council requirements. Submitting an environmental report that fails to meet these standards often leads to rejection and a request for further testing. This will end up costing far more in the long term.
With NSW councils enforcing stricter standards on environmental report approvals, it’s now a common requirement that a professional environmental consulting firm and certified Environmental Practitioner (CEnvP) oversee the remediation process.
Ask your environmental remediation company if their quote will include a CEnvP review and testing for other potential areas of environmental contamination.
Real-world impacts with environmental service companies:
We see many site investigation reports after they’ve been rejected for not meeting Council requirements. We’ve even seen reports that tested the wrong chemicals! Councils expect quality reports. Use a trusted and qualified environmental consulting firm for your next remediation job.
3. What Quality Assurance & Quality Control (QA QC) standards do they set?
Once contamination samples have been collected, the next step is professional testing. In our experience, this is a clear point of difference between environmental experts and companies that provide remediation services.
A comprehensive test for site contamination requires a wide range of samples captured on-site. Testing soil for asbestos contamination, for example, requires samples captured at different areas, at different depths across different soil textures. If these samples are not refrigerated and stored correctly it can impact the chemical composition and results.
Councils have acceptable levels of contamination for different types of developments (residential, commercial, industrial) and other specific requirements. Expert knowledge and QA/QC procedures ensure the highest testing grade possible is critical to understanding the full extent of on-site contamination.
NEO Consulting conducts all sample testing in NATA accredited laboratories across NSW. A certified CEnvP is always on hand to review our environmental reports. We are ISO accredited for our environment, safety and quality. Make sure your remediation partner is equally qualified.
4. What experience & qualifications do they have?
Remediation in NSW is highly regulated to protect our environment and communities. This requires an experienced environmental professional to ensure compliant identification, classification, removal and validation is taking place.
Environmental remediation companies should have extensive experience in the safe removal of a range of pollutants, the size and scope of your development and ability to meet local Council requirements.
Your remediation partner should be equipped with the right tools for professional sampling and laboratory testing. All staff should adhere to Workplace Health & Safety regulations and arrive with the correct PPE to keep their people (and yours) safe. They should also have the right documentation in place, such as a Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) completed on site.
NEO consulting is a JAS-C qualified environmental services provider. We’ve served clients across Greater Sydney and NSW for 10 years. We have a track record in remediation and land validation for big and small construction sites. If you’re considering environmental remediation companies, do your own due diligence with these starter questions.