Risk assessment and management
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing”

Warren Buffett

Soil and water contamination: determining real risks and finding the right solutions

When business owners, water control boards or local governments are confronted with new or existing soil and water contaminations, they will have two obvious questions: what is the risk of the contamination and how much will it cost to remove this risk?

Researchers used to base risk assessment of contaminants solely on chemical analysis, but we learned over the years that this often leads to an overestimation of the risks, which leads to unnecessary costs.

Increased insight leads to lower costs

To get a clear evaluation of the risk of a contamination, Bioclear earth developed several different methods for risk assessment. One of these methods is called the TRIAD-method. When the TRIAD method is applied not only chemical analysis, but also toxicological and ecological tests are conducted. Over time research has shown that in approximately 40% of the cases no risks are found and in 60% of the cases the spreading of the pollution is much smaller than first anticipated. The remediation costs will therefore be much lower.

How does our approach work?

To properly evaluate the risks of soil and water contamination we examine the problem from three different angles:

  • Based on our chemical knowledge and knowledge of water and soil systems, we determine what will happen when the contamination spreads in the soil or the (ground)water.
  • Next we determine the current risk of the contamination and its future influence on the ecosystem.
  • Then we determine if the risks can be constrained and can stay manageable or if the risks should be removed.

From risk assessment to risk management

Based on this thorough risks assessment, we formulate a practical plan to tackle the contamination problem. We base our solutions on the power of nature: combining biological processes with technology, also know as eco-engineering. Bioclear earth has developed sustainable methods for soil and water remediation for the treatment of many different pollutants like (heavy) metals, solvents, volatile aromatics, mineral oil and PAH’s, but also for the treatment of newer micro-pollutants, like medical residues, pesticides and retardants.

If you would like to know more about risk assessment and management of contaminants please call Freek van den Heuvel.

Freek van den Heuvel
Consultant water quality and phytoremediation