Testing of soil and contaminated land

Brownfield and contaminated land represents both possibilities and challenges. The obvious possibility is to develop such areas into residential zones. The challenges are that contaminants from the land may migrate and end up in water sources, contaminate the surrounding air, or otherwise negatively affect plants and other living organisms. Moreover, before the contaminated land can be utilised for residential purposes, contaminants need to be removed.

The role of a laboratory is to help assessing the level and type of contaminants in the area and surroundings. ALS Environmental has extensive experience in the field of analysis of soil contaminants, such as petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides and heavy metals, but also in the field of soil quality; looking at organic content, nutrients and grain size.

Typical clients using ALS services includes governments, consulting companies, research institutions and private companies.

Throughout Europe there are a number of national and local legislations that companies will have to comply with. Typically, the legislation will dictate how to sample, what contaminants to test for, and guideline values for the contaminants. Some examples of guideline values can be found here.

Our local client service staff will be happy to assist you choosing tests that comply with the local legislations or to help you evaluate results toward guideline values.

Our analytical testing services include:

  •  Screening of metals
  •  Screening of organic compounds
  •  Trace metals/heavy metals
  •  Metal speciation (Hg, As, Se)
  •  Isotopes
  •  Elemental analysis (N, C, S, H, O)
  •  Volatile organic compounds
  •  Semi-volatile organic compounds, PAH, alkyl-PAH, PCBs
  •  Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH)
  •  Speciation of total petroleum hydrocarbons (C5-C40)
  •  Basic inorganic parameters
  •  Anions, nutrients
  •  Nitrogen forms
  •  Oxyhalides, TOC
  •  EOX, AOX, TX
  •  Cyanides
  •  Anionic, cationic and non-ionic surfactants
  •  Alkylphenols and their ethoxylates
  •  Glycols, alcohols
  •  Pesticides and their metabolites
  •  Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs)
  •  Pharmaceutical residues
  •  Dioxins, PBDE and other POPs
  •  Chlorophenols, cresols, phthalates
  •  Chloroalkanes
  •  Anilines
  •  Radiology, radionuclides
  •  Microbiology, Legionella
  •  Ecotoxicity, acute toxicity
  •  Grain size, soil texture
  •  Effective cation exchange capacity, soluble phosphorus, soluble nitrogen
  •  Acid volatile sulfide, AVS:SEM ratio

Reference list - Major European projects

Natura 2000, Poland

Environmental assessment of a Natura 2000 area in Poland. ALS provided testing for a number of contaminants in soil and water including metals, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB).

Spolana, Czech Republic

“Spolana Dioxiny” was one of the largest remediation projects worldwide. Spolana is a producer of chemicals that through this project successfully manage to remediate buildings and surroundings for a number of contaminants, most importantly Dioxins but also metals and pesticides.

BT Kemi, Sweden

This former pesticide plant produced large quantities of compounds such as MCPA, 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T and Dinoseb. During the remediation, a project that is still ongoing, high concentrations of these pesticides were found. In addition it was revealed that the factory and the area surrounding the factory had been contaminated with metals, Dioxins, and other chlorinated compounds.

Kindergartens, Norway

The Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment decided in 2006 that all kindergartens and playgrounds in the 10 largest cities, and at 5 industrial locations, should have their soil tested for metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in order to provide a safe environment for children. ALS was contracted to provide testing of thousands of samples during the project.

Penttilän saha, Finland

A former saw mill heavily contaminated with diesel, chlorophenols, metals and dioxins was remediated and ALS was rewarded the contract for analytical testing services.

Steel Mill, Portugal

A large factory site close to Lisbon was successfully remediated from a steel mill. ALS was contracted for the analytical services that included testing of metals, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and volatile organic compounds (VOC).