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Keywords :- Remediation of a former domestic refuse tip - fitness for use

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From: -Sue Everett
Date: 20th June 1999
Subject: Remediation of a former domestic refuse tip - fitness for use








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Dear Micky,

I am a councillor involved in negotiations and remediation of a former domestic refuse tip.

My council is to take a lease on this site from the unitary authority but there are some matters to tidy up, including we need to know whether the recent capping of the site done by the unitary authority was adequate to make the site fit for the use we propose (informal recreation). Some heavy metal contamination was detected prior to capping this rather old waste site.

All I need to find is some information on fitness of use so that I can work out whether the capping has been adequate or not. But I am bamboozled by the web site and just dont know where to look. Maybe the proposed govt guidelines due this year would help, but I thought that there had been some Waste Management Papers which gave the guidance I needed.

How can I find out, via your site, the information that I need?

Many thanks

Sue Everett

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Hi there Sue

Sorry that the website bamboozled you abit (it gets like that you leave it alone for a couple of days and it thinks its in charge !)

  1. The guy you need to contact is Tom Cairney - who literally wrote the book on the subject. He works for Fairhursts up in Newcastle, his Fax No is (01704) 834 446, Tel no (01704) 872 481.

  2. The Government is indeed issuing some guidance on the subject, I haven't got my hands on it yet, so am not sure what it involves

  3. However I presume that once the Contaminated land legislation actually kicks in (now rumoured to be happening in December 1999) then there will be a requirement for your Council to assess whether the landfill is a potentially contaminated site. If there is Heavy Metal contamination present then it seems fairly certain that your landfill site will be listed as potentially contaminated.

  4. As far as guidelines for contamination go they are basically three (ICRCL, Dutch list, Kelly)

  5. Local Authority Waste Management magazine might have some info for you, try accessing the EDIE website to see if they have any data.

  6. Voelker Science run a Contaminated Land Discussion Forum you could try posting up your query there

  7. We also had a recent enquiry about soil amelioration of slag and coal mine waste which might be of use as regards 'soil guidelines'



P.S. The doctrine of 'Caveat Emptor' (buyer beware) is very important in these matters, so I would get legal advice over who will be ultimately responsible (in the eyes of the law) for any pollution arising from contamination present in the landfill (ie if you buy outright - you are liable, maybe if you have enough warranties in your lease then you won't be responsible) - but that's something for an Environmental Lawyer to advise you on.


2nd response


Dear Sue

Any old waste sites could have problems with gas, leachate and other contaminants. Proper assessment is really required before you take responsibility for it. Waste Management Paper 27 may give you some help and guidance.

Feel free to contact me for further details.

K Wannell
Methane Management Ltd
Tel (01903) 882 280

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