The 5 Effects of Improper Material and Soil Removal

Material and soil removal has become a hot topic in construction over the past few years as more and more regulations come into force across Australia. This is because of the detrimental effects of improper material and soil removal on the environment. When soils and materials are removed from a construction site they need to be disposed of through the proper channels or there is a risk of contaminating the soil, air and water surrounding the dumped materials.

As organisers of materials haulage across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne we at Eastern Plant Hire know first hand the impacts of improper soil and materials removal and dumping. From expensive fines to missed recycling and on-selling opportunities, there are a number of negative effects of improper removal that vastly outweigh the benefits of a cheap job.

We’ve seen over the past few decades the research into old removal and dumping practices highlight the negative impacts on the environment, both locally and globally. From chemicals leeching into the groundwater to adverse health conditions due to poor air quality, laws surrounding proper soil and material dumping were brought in to curb these effects. Below we detail the five effects of improper material and soil removal and disposal.

1. Soil Contamination

Soil contamination can be an issue both on-site, and wherever the soil or material is removed and disposed of. It’s common-place at the beginning of a construction project to conduct soil testing to determine the composition of the soil. The includes the quality and type of soil as well as the chemical composition in the soil. This determines whether at some point, the soil has been contaminated or whether it is what the industry calls ‘clean fill’.

When contaminated soil is found it more often than not needs to be removed, and where it is dumped is just as important as removing it in the first place. The goal of contaminated soil removal is to contain and decontaminate, either through soil stabilisation, bioremediation or other treatments. If contaminated soil is dumped through normal channels it has the potential to contaminate the materials it is dumped with, leech into the ground and groundwater, and spread if those materials are reused.

2. Air Contamination

Air contamination is more related to the improper removal and dumping of construction materials. Materials that either contain hazardous chemicals or are hazardous chemicals have very specific channels in which they need to be disposed of. This protects the surrounding environment from potential air contamination.

When not disposed of correctly hazardous materials can be burned in landfills, releasing the toxins into the air. They can also potentially cause explosions when mixed with other forms of waste or put through reactive conditions. This can be the most dangerous form of contamination as it is the hardest to detect and contain.

3. Water Contamination

Water contamination is often caused by illegal dumping of contaminated materials and soils either in or near water, be that the ocean, a lake or river. This is one of the more idiotic and impactful removals and dumping tactics as waterways tend to be closely monitored and charges for illegal dumping can run into the $10,000’s.

Contaminating local waterways has longlasting effects on local towns, flora and fauna. Wether dumped directly into the water or on the waters edge the contaminants will leech out of the materials and soil and seep into the water, affecting any fish or animals and flora that rely on the water. It can affect the drinking water supplies for a town, with decontamination both expensive and time-consuming.

4. Missed Recycling Opportunities

Since regulations on materials and soil removal came into place companies have been servicing the new removal and dumping needs of the construction industry. Here at EPH we offer removal and processing services, ensuring that the correct measures are taken to safely dispose of soil and materials. Often soils and materials can be safely recycled, sometimes after being treated, and a profit can be made on the sale.

Examples of potentially recyclable materials:

5. Fines and Charges for Illegal Removal and Dumping

Each State and Territory across Australia has different fines, charges and laws regarding illegal dumping of soils and materials but there are some constants. Charges can be laid both on the individual and the corporation linked to the dumping, some of which can go over $5,000,000 dollars, while on-the-spot fines can be as high as $15,000. While illegal removal and dumping of soils and materials may reap a short term reward, the repercussions can send people to jail among other effects.

Drop a Line to the Team at Eastern Plant Hire Today

If you’re looking to speak with an industry expert about world-class plant hire packages, material cartage, truck hire or anything in between, then give EPH a call today. Speak with one of our friendly staff members about an obligation-free quote, receive incisive advice and get the ball rolling on your next earthmoving project. Alternatively, fill out one of our online enquiry forms and we will respond to your request as soon as possible. For all plant hire jobs, big or small, Eastern Plant Hire are the team you can trust!

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