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About Contaminated Land

Contamination of the land can arise from past industrial processes, waste disposal, illegal dumping, accidental spillage of substances and in some instances may be natural rather than man-made.

In the past there were far fewer operating restrictions for industries than we have today. Many industrial activities were carried out with little regard for their impact on the environment, particularly prior to the Control of Pollution Act 1974. The type of contaminant can vary widely from site to site. Some of the more common problems include oils and fuels, domestic and industrial waste, heavy metals and solvents.

Different contaminants can cause problems in a variety of ways.

For example, they can:

  • travel through or move across the ground and pollute water resources such as underground water, lakes and rivers
  • Be inhaled as dust particles
  • Be absorbed into, or irritate the skin
  • Be taken up by plants that are grown in the ground to be eaten by humans or animals
  • Break down to create potentially dangerous gases including methane, carbon dioxide etc.
  • Have a detrimental affect on building materials e.g. cement

It is therefore important to identify areas where contaminants are likely to be present and to deal with them so that the site is made suitable for its use, and to negate any affects to neighbouring land.

Contact

Email: envhealth@dover.gov.uk
Telephone: 01304 872428

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