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Hazardous Materials Contamination in Buildings

Jul 13, 2018

Hazardous Materials Contamination in Buildings

Monitoring, Sampling, Testing and Risk Assessment for Site Development & Refurbishment Works


Former Industrial Site Swansea

Redevelopment of a former industrial site in Swansea necessitated testing of the buildings for potential contamination.

The industrial processes started on site from 1835 with a considerable period for potential contamination of the site over that time.

Two of the remaining buildings are to be redeveloped raising the possibility of leaching, vaporisation or physical contact with potential contaminants during the refurbishment and occupation of the buildings.

A range of sampling, testing and monitoring works were undertaken on site including sampling of plaster, mortar, concrete, brick, paintwork and timber.

The building fabric and elements were tested for the following; Arsenic As, Barium, Beryllium, Boron Water Soluble, Cadmium Cd, Copper Cu, Lead Pb, Mercury Nickel Ni Selenium Se , Vanadium V & Zinc 

Testing of building materials and elements were also undertaken to determine the following; Naphthalene, Acenaphthylene, Acenaphthene, Fluorene, Phenanthrene, Anthracene, Fluoranthene, Pyrene, Benzo(a)anthracene, Chrysene, Benzo(a)anthracene, Benzo(k)fluoranthene, Benzo(a)pyrene, Indeno(1,2,3-c,d)pyrene, Dibenzo(a,h)anthracene, Benzo(g,h,i)perylene, Benzo(g,h,i)perylene, PAH - USEPA 16, Total Benzo(g,h,i)perylene, Phenol including Phenol – Monohydric and EPH (C10-C40).

The recommendations based on the findings were to carry out bulk sampling of materials to determine the areas with high Lead/Arsenic/Zinc levels.

A review of Working Methodsto reduce the likelihood of release of Lead/Arsenic/Zinc containing materials was carried out. 

Monitoring of Airborne Arsenic, Lead & Zinc levels during works were recommended to establish the effectiveness of the control methods.

Regular Reviews of methodology based on results obtained were provided and recommendations for post occupancy evaluation and on site further testing were made to mitigate health and safety issues and exposures.

However the potential of vaporisation of contaminants was highlighted as a potential problem and further tests to determine this are ongoing.


Arsenic in Wallpaper in Historic Building in Central London

EBS Ltd was asked to investigate potential contamination of wallpaper in the building in central London.

High Levels of Arsenic was found in the wallpaper in one room.

The developer was concerned with the potential release of contaminants into the indoor environment during and after refurbishment.

In view of the limited number of samples taken for analysis during phase 1, it was recommended that further systematic sampling was to be undertaken in each room with historic wallpaper and consideration was given to study the potential for contaminant release from the building structure in these particular areas.

On site monitoring was undertaken with appropriate sampling for hazardous substances released into the atmosphere.

This enabled EBS Ltd to provide the client with a review of working methods to reduce the likelihood of release of hazardous materials.  We were also able to provide adviceonappropriate control methods and personal protective equipment, including post occupancy evaluation to mitigate health and safety issues and exposures.