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Establishing data on background levels of contamination - SP1008

Description
This project will define the typical background concentrations (TBCs) for soil contaminants to support the simplification and updating of the contaminated land Statutory Guidance. The objective is to make this part of contaminated land regime more effective by developing a robust, transparent method for the definition of the typical background concentration of contaminants. The work is designed to determine the significant variations of contaminants in soil in order to define what is a typical or abnormal concentration range. A database of existing soil data from both urban and rural areas of England will be assembled and used to define TBCs of contaminants using scientifically robust methods. The research will take into account the important natural features that determine a soil‟s characteristics (i.e. the underlying geology which is the parent material) combined with demonstrable impacts to the chemistry of the surface environment by human activity. The proposed methodology will follow a work flow, illustrated with worked examples and case studies. The first stages involve determining the suitability of the contaminant and area under investigation for an estimation of a TBC. An area is classified according to a top level classifier (e.g. geological) to give area classes (e.g. alluvium, ironstone, mineralised). These will intersect with the built-up or non-built-up classes to give areas defined as domains. Using robust statistical analysis, domains, where sufficient data and information are available, will be assigned a TBC. Certain contaminants may be identified as unsuitable for establishing such a TBC and some areas will have gaps in information requiring extrapolation of the soil chemical environment from known areas or use of proxy data. Technical guidance sheets will be written for selected contaminants (e.g Pb, As, BaP and asbestos) to inform assessors how they should compare concentrations from a specific site with a defined TBC for that domain. The contaminants selected for the technical guidance sheets will be based on stakeholder/Steering Group/Defra consultations so the technical guidance provided is of maximum use and benefit. The Project will have significant cost benefits to Local Authorities (LAs) and sectors affected by the contaminated land regime. For example, the work will lead to an increased cost-effectiveness in use of taxpayers‟ money due to administrative benefits for LAs resulting from simplified guidance. Reduced regulatory uncertainty will help the construction sector through similar time savings. The guidance will help to focus on high-risk sites benefiting public health with cleaner healthier environments and reducing property blight that affects both people and businesses.
Objective
The aims for this project are set out in the call document, these are shown below (in italics) and are delivered through Work packages 1-4 (WP1-4). Objectives and their interdependencies are listed under these aims and made measurable and time bound as milestones shown in Q2.3c and the accompanying Gantt chart.
„h collate existing data on normal levels of contaminants in soil in England as defined by the Statutory Guidance;
„h assess the data in terms of its extent (both spatially and in terms of contaminants covered) and robustness;
„h present information on the gaps in the evidence base that will be needed to apply the methodology and produce guidance for all contaminants.
Objective 1: Review of existing data ¡V Work package 1. Delivered as Draft Report on completion of Work package 2 (Milestone 8). This is the initial phase of the project that underpins subsequent objectives. Delivered by the BGS core team. Component parts (delivered in draft report Milestone 8):
1.1 Tabulation of existing data sets (Milestone 2)
1.2 Maps of England showing sample sites from main data sets (ArcGIS layers) (Milestone 2)
1.3 Tabulation of contaminants assessing coverage/gaps in evidence base (Milestone 5)
1.4 Glossary of terms (to ensure consistent use of terminology throughout project) (Milestone 8)
1.5 EndNote bibliography of key reports/publications (to underpin project‟s knowledge base). (Milestone 8).
„h provide clear definition of ¡§normal¡¨ levels of contaminants in soil and what is meant by local, regional and national geographical scale. Explain the differences between natural and diffuse pollution contaminant sources.
EVID2 Research Project Proposal Form (04/11) 6
Objective 2: Exploration of the data ¡V Work package 2. Delivered as Draft Report along with outputs from Work package 1 (Milestone 8). This is the second phase of the project following on from the initial data gathering phase. Investigation of the data will explore the statistical methodology to be used in Objective 3, by focussing on a suite of key contaminants that have contrasting sources (natural/diffuse anthropogenic) and spatial controls on their distribution. The contaminants will be explored spatially by areas defined as domains (see definition of terms in section 2.3a). This work package will be delivered by the BGS core team. Component parts (delivered in draft report):
2.1 Definition of classifiers, classes and domains and assignment of contaminants to domains (Milestone 4)
2.2 Descriptive statistics for contaminant domains (Milestone 4)
2.3 Worked examples on use of proxy data for areas where there are gaps in data (Milestone 8).
2.4 Draft report for WP1 & 2. (Milestone 8).
„h produce a methodology on how to establish and interpret normal levels of background contamination applicable to a range of contaminants, including worked examples and/or case studies, etc. where necessary to aid understanding
Objective 3: Production of a methodology ¡V Work package 3. Delivered as Draft Report (Milestone 10). This is the third phase of the project based on evidence generated in Objectives 1 & 2. This is the most demanding of the objectives and as such will be delivered by the BGS core team with specialist input (BGS/NERC experts and subcontractor). Given the need to produce technical guidance in a timely manner, as a prequel to this objective, exploratory work on the methodology will commence before the completion of WP2.
Component parts:
3.1 Exploratory work on methodology to ensure its viability and that Objectives 1 & 2 provide the necessary data and information (Milestone 10).
3.2 Internal Project Workshop to discuss exploratory methodology work (Milestone 6)
3.3 Document case studies and worked examples to illustrate TBCs for different domains (Milestone 10).
3.4 Create table of TBCs for contaminants for different domains (Milestone 10).
3.5 Document options for mapping of affected areas (i.e. areas that exceed TBCs). (Milestone 10).
3.6 Preparation of peer-reviewed publication on ¡§A new approach to estimating typical background concentrations for contaminants in topsoil with a case study from England¡¨ (Milestone 14)
3.7 Draft report for WP3. (Milestone 10).
„h produce technical guidance to help assessors apply the new rules for as many substances as possible
Objective 4: Production of technical guidance for specific contaminants ¡V Work package 4. Delivered as Technical Guide Sheets (TGSs) for specified contaminants in a format agreed by Defra. This is the final phase of the project based on outputs from Objectives 1, 2 & 3. To commence after consultation with Defra and the Steering Group. Delivered by the BGS core team with specialist input (BGS advisors and subcontractor). Component parts:
4.1 Preparation of a contaminant technical guidance template for approval (Milestone 11)
4.2 Populate technical guidance sheets for eight contaminants (to include As, Pb, BaP, Asbestos) using information from Work packages 1-3 (Milestone 16)
4.3 Draft Final Report (Milestone 17)
4.4 Defra endorsement of the technical guidance sheets and acceptance of final report (Milestone 19).
Milestones 1 and 12 are meetings. Milestones 3,7,9,13,15,and 18 are monthly progress reports.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Methodology for the determination of normal background contaminant concentrations in English soils (Work package 3)   (1289k)
• FRP - Final Report : Normal background concentrations (NBCs) of contaminants in English soils: Final project report   (1953k)
• FRP - Final Report : Normal background concentrations of contaminants in the soils of England. Available data and data exploration (Work package 1 & 2)   (7913k)
• ANX - Annex : Exploratory data analysis and statistical methods: Wales   (10951k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS) Wales: Arsenic (As)   (625k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS) Wales: Benzo[a]Pyrene (BaP)   (402k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS) Wales: Cadmium (Cd)   (742k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS) Wales: Copper (Cu)   (645k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS) Wales: Lead (Pb)   (647k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS) Wales: Mercury (Hg)   (393k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS) Wales: Nickel (Ni)   (602k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS): Arsenic (As)   (330k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS): Benzo[a]Pyrene (BaP)   (363k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS): Cadmium (Cd)   (262k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS): Copper (Cu)   (271k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS): Lead (Pb)   (279k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS): Mercury (Hg)   (327k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet (TGS): Nickel (Ni)   (308k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet Supplementary Information: Arsenic (As)   (2230k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet Supplementary Information: Benzo[a]Pyrene (BaP)   (1108k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet Supplementary Information: Cadmium (Cd)   (1594k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet Supplementary Information: Copper (Cu)   (2058k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet Supplementary Information: Lead (Pb)   (1522k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet Supplementary Information: Mercury (Hg)   (1090k)
• ANX - Annex : Technical Guidance Sheet Supplementary Information: Nickel (Ni)   (1407k)
• SUP - Supplementary Report : Normal background concentrations of contaminants in the soils of England. Results of the data exploration for Cd, Cu, Hg and Ni (Supplementary report)   (7654k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2012

Cost: £176,652
Contractor / Funded Organisations
British Geological Survey
Keywords
Contaminated Land