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Land contamination can give rise to volatile contaminants which can pose a risk of harm to human health by asphyxiation or illness if inhaled. Vapours and gases such as methane may also pose a risk of fire or explosion.


Basement Information Centre



Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

  • The Local Authority Guide to Ground Gas. Wilson, S., Card, G. and Haines, S.: Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, London, 2008. - Out of Print



Environment Agency

Ground Engineering


Land Contamination & Reclamation


United States Environmental Protection Agency


Ongoing Update of Ground Gas Handbook - Ground Gas Information Sheets:

Land contamination can affect the health of people living, working, visiting or otherwise present on a site. The risk assessment process is used to establish whether there is an unacceptable risk to humans.

Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment (CLEA)

CLEA Software and Handbook

Toxicological Reports (TOX) (INFO-RA2-2d)

Soil Guideline Values (SGVs) (INFO-RA2-2e)

Category 4 Screening Levels (C4SL)

Generic Screening Values (GAC)


General Information 

TPH Working Group Series (TPHCWG) - Available through AEHS Foundation Online Store

      • Petroleum Hydrocarbon Analysis of Soil and Water in the Environment, Volume 1, TPHCWG, 1998. (INFO-RA2-2i)
      • Composition of Petroleum Mixtures, Volume 2, TPHCWG, 1998. (INFO-RA2-2j)
      • Selection of Representative TPH Fractions Based on Fate and Transport Considerations, Volume 3, TPHCWG, 1997. (INFO-RA2-2k)
      • Development of Fraction-specific Reference Doses (RfDs) and Reference Concentrations (RfCs) for TPHs, Volume 4, TPHCWG, 1997. (INFO-RA2-2l)
      • Human Health Risk-based Evaluation of Petroleum Release Sites: Implementing the Working Group’s Approach, Volume 5, TPHCWG, 1999. (INFO-RA2-2m)

Contaminated Land Reports (CLR) - All withdrawn

A number of regulatory regimes now require an ecological risk assessment (ERA) to be carried out. All these regimes are concerned, in one way or another, with assessing the risk of significant harm to an organism, an animal or a whole ecosystem. To ensure consistency in ERA, Defra and the EA have developed an ERA framework for use in land quality assessments.

ERA framework

The framework offers a series of tiered activities, decisions and actions that provide a practical match between available resources and the severity of a land contamination problem. It allows decisions to be made rationally, consistently and transparently and forms the basis for discussions between the relevant parties (these may include: site owners, regulatory authorities and the local community).

ERA guidance


Land contamination can affect groundwater, freshwater and coastal waters. Groundwater is particularly vulnerable to contamination as it underlies many sites and is difficult to clean up once polluted.




Department of the Environment

Environment Agency


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