A Geostatistically-Based Method to Assess Potential Hazardous Waste Sites using Hard and Soft Data


A hazard assessment is generally performed on a site where contaminants are known or suspected. Often presence of contaminants are unknown until land use changes, inhibiting development. Knowing the potential for hazardous waste contamination at a given site would be valuable for property owners, developers, lenders, regulators, insurers, and public officials. A method of initial site assessment is developed to determine the possibility of encountering one, or a variety of contaminants at a given site. Basic geotechnical soil properties that are associated with and influence contaminant transport are used to characterize an area. Known and suspected contaminants are located within that area, based on current and historical land use. A weighting system is developed to identify a receptor's potential to encounter a contaminant. Geotechnical properties, degree of hazard, and type of receptor are given weighted point values at locations where these characteristics can be determined. It is assumed that the potential of contamination at a given receptor is a function of geotechnical site characteristics, contaminant characteristics, and sensitivity of the receptor. Contamination potential can be spatially related to these identifiable properties. Geostatistics are used to develop a contour map of contamination potential; the closer the value to 1.0, the greater the potential for that contaminant at a given site.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Dec 1996

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