Article Contaminated Land

SoBRA – Publication of methodology and generic assessment criteria for assessing risks to human health from volatile compounds in groundwater

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SoBRA is pleased to announce the methodology and generic assessment criteria for 64 commonly analysed volatile constituents in groundwater has been published. Many thanks to the sub-group for working tirelessly to prepare the methodology, derive the GAC and prepare the report documenting the work undertaken. The methodology and assessment criteria are designed to evaluate the volatilisation and migration into buildings of contaminants from shallow groundwater. The methodology utilises the Environment Agency’s (England and Wales) CLEA model to estimate the average long-term concentration in shallow groundwater (the GAC) that would lead to tolerable / minimal risk to site occupants from vapour migration and inhalation in indoor and outdoor air from chronic exposure. Screening values have been derived for residential and commercial land-use scenarios. Sensitivity analysis has been undertaken to demonstrate how the screening criteria change with soil type, building type and source depth. The generic screening values are intended to complement other screening methodologies (such as exclusion depths and distances) for assessing the groundwater vapour contaminant linkages.

Furthermore please note that Geologists with an interest in contaminated land may apply for accreditation with SoBRA in respect to risk assessment. The next window for application is now open until the 31st of May 2017. This is a standalone scheme. However, the scheme presents an opportunity for its members to demonstrate to a Suitably Qualified Person (SQP), under the Land Forum’s upcoming National Quality Mark Scheme, that they are sufficiently competent to support the SQP in undertaking or reviewing the risk assessment element of their project.

SoBRA is a learned society for individuals, with membership drawn from the private, public, voluntary and academic sectors. Its goals are to improve technical knowledge in risk-based decision-making related to land contamination applications and to enhance the professional status and profile of practitioners. To become a member or download the methodology and assessment criteria please visit their website: You can also communicate with SoBRA via linkedin and twitter @sobra15138564.