Clarifying the classification of waste soils in construction

This lunch time webinar will explore both the legal requirements and the common misunderstanding that people have with respect to the classification of waste soils in construction projects. It will also discuss the potential changes in EA's priorities from 2019 onwards.


Waste soils are one of the largest waste streams in the UK. However the correct classification of waste soils, as either hazardous or non-hazardous waste, is one of the biggest causes of dubious classifications, or of miss-classification.

In many construction projects, the financial risk for the disposal of soils, in particular hazardous soils, is often not assessed in a timely manner and is placed on the contractor who wins the contract. The developer may have paid for the phase I/II investigations, and completed site characterisation work including geotechnical assessments, and human health risk assessments to get through the planning stage. In this work, the consultant may have offered some level of preliminary waste classification assessment based on the Site investigation data collected – but this assessment has to be limited because

  1. the data was collected (paid for) for site characterisation purposes, and not waste disposal assessments
  2. The site investigation may have identified contamination but not fully delineated it.
  3. The locations of the test pits/boreholes, and the depths of any samples, may bear no relationship to the physical mass of waste soil that needs to be excavated and disposed of.

At the tender stage, with the building design now complete but no further delineation or assessment of any hazardous soils, the bidder has to either pay for more sampling and classification, at their own risk (both in terms of cost and turnaround time), or take a different risk based on the assessment of the limited sampling data contained in the tender package.

At the construction stage, a different team takes over the project, a project with a tight schedule and budget and where the waste characterisation of surplus (non-CLAIRE CoP) soils, fill  and blacktop materials may not be prioritised or properly defined in the management plan.  This is further compounded by the ground worker going in and mixing hazardous materials with non-hazardous soils, and placing them in a stockpile for disposal.  The outcome is a stockpile containing a mixture of hazardous and non-hazardous materials - that has to be off site tomorrow – and you need a waste classification.

Why attend

This webinar will explain:

The EA’s view on waste classification particularly the classification of hazardous and non-hazardous waste soils

  • The Law and waste soil
  • What the Environment Agency is expecting in a Waste Classification Package
  • The (legal) responsibility of the Producer
  • Why waste classification has to be planned for at the beginning of a project, not at the end different management issues
  • Review of some of the common mistakes people make when classifying waste soils including

    • Why landfill WAC data must not be used for waste classification
    • Why a “Standard analysis suite” should be called “Minimum analysis suite”
    • Why you can’t use simple rule of thumb or a list of threshold concentrations of e.g. metals, to assess a waste – explaining additivity
    • Why you mustn’t use the individual TPH-CWG bands to assess an unknown oil

How should your waste be classified?  - the creation of a Waste Classification Package


12.30    Webinar available to log in

13.00    Introduction

13.10    EA’s view on waste classification  - Cathryn Jones, Environment Agency

13.30    Waste classification - Ian Bishop, HazWasteOnline

13.50    Questions and discussion

14.20    Close

Who should attend
Consultants, contractors, clients, LA, regulators

19 June 2019
12:30 - 14:20

Free for LACL and BRMF Members
£35 + VAT for all others 

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19/06/2019 - 19/06/2019

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