Environmental Science

Environmental Science encompasses an understanding of geochemistry including a knowledge of the history and nature of the contaminants is also necessary. ESP has a proven track record on many different sites with a wide variety of contaminants, including hydrocarbons and heavy metals in various phases in both soil and groundwater.

Environmental science is an integrative subject and requires an understanding of a wide variety of disciplines. ESP has considerable experience across a number of fields that are drawn together to achieve an understanding of the topic. We are experienced in performing tiered risk assessments, using methodologies dictated within published guidance, and using quantitative risk assessment models, to derive site specific remedial targets for a range of receptors. These include health assessments from soil contamination, controlled water risks assessments, and ground gas assessments.

Previously developed land that may be contaminated due to historic industrial processes is increasingly being considered for redevelopment across the UK.  In order to successfully redevelop such land, the impact of the contamination hazard, both on-site and in relation to the surrounding land and water, must be understood and mitigated against.

Our experience has shown that creating the Conceptual Site Model is the first and most integral step in providing an understanding of a site, in particular the understanding of the links between to the source, receptor and pathway. Developing the model requires detailed knowledge of geology, hydrogeology and the nature of contaminants. ESP have extensive experience in developing models for complex sites including, industrial facilities, dock lands and historic landfills where complicated groundwater regimes are also common.

Numerical modelling can be an effective tool to enhance the understanding of the nature and extent of contamination across a site. ESP utilise an array of software including ArcGIS, Surfer, and a number of different Excel based programs, including those developed by the Environment Agency and US Government, to provide modelling tailored to suit individual site needs.

There are a number of assessments which can be tailored to suit the needs of a site, these are outlined below:

  • Contaminated land risk assessment;
  • Controlled water risk assessment;
  • Environmental impact assessments;
  • Human health assessments from soil contamination;
  • Ground gas assessment; and,
  • Design, implementation and validation of mitigation measures or remediation schemes.

In order to fully assess the risk of contamination, a directed site investigation may be required in order to delineate contamination and provide an detailed understanding of geological and hydrological conditions.

Depending on the needs of the site, the site investigation may be targeted at retrieving soil samples for soil contamination or leachate testing. The investigation may include the direction of boreholes in order to construct gas and groundwater monitoring wells. We use a range of accredited laboratories for sample analysis to ensure accurate and efficient turnaround.

ESP has experience in carrying out both short and long term gas and groundwater monitoring, including groundwater sampling and in-situ quality monitoring.

Groundwater monitoring in the short or long term can help provide an understanding of the following:

    • Groundwater behaviour;
    • Groundwater interaction with the nearby surface water;
    • Contaminant composition;
    • Concentration variations throughout the plume; and,
    • Aquifer geochemistry


Project Example: Geotechnical Engineering, Site Investigation, and Contaminated Land Risk Assessment – Waterloo Industrial Estate, Pembroke Dock

ESP have undertaken a site investigation and long term groundwater monitoring in order to assess the risk to controlled waters at Waterloo Industrial Estate, Pembroke Dock. The site, previously developed on a historic landfill, comprises a commercial/light industrial development and lies adjacent to the environmentally sensitive Milford Haven waterway.

ESP have previously carried out investigations at the site and with the most recent investigation primarily comprising the assessment of spatial distribution of groundwater contamination and an appraisal of the viability of natural attenuation as a potential remediation method for the site.

Project Example: Site Remediation, Waun Gron Road, Cardiff

ESP implemented a phased investigation for a client who wished to re-purpose a site from its use as a civic amenity site and storage depot to a combined mixed use development including a bus depot, commercial buildings and residential properties. Commencing with a Desk Study, ESP carried out a series of investigations, including more detailed intrusive works and a Controlled Waters Risk Assessment. The completion of these works enabled risks to be defined and managed into the contract stage for the project.

A selected list of example projects can be found on our Projects and Technical page.

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