Soil pollution

Soil pollution can occur when utilizing the soil for different facilities such as gas stations and factories. The pollution can be caused during normal activity or system failure which allows leakage of polluters to the soil.  Soil pollution is an environmental hazard at a few aspects:

  1. Swallowing contaminated soil mainly by babies and children.
  2. Generating air pollution at closed spaces and basements when the polluters are highly volatile.
  3. Pollution of ground water.

Soil pollution which pollutes ground water can expand the contamination by evaporating, thus polluting the ground gas at the unsaturated level which is above the ground water. This can cause air pollution at closed underground spaces and basements even at site distant to the focus of pollution. There are several ways to treat contaminated soil. The main method is by avoiding and reducing the probability of pollution by the correct prevention facilities (such as double tanks, leakage detection and sealing surfaces) and by proper working procedures (such as checking the equipments) which will lower failures. Recently, prevention actions are taken which should reduce the soil pollution in the future. Distancing potentially soil polluters from sensitive hydrological sites will also help prevent ground water contamination. Another level of soil pollution is the treatment of already polluted soil. This treatment includes examining the perimeter of pollution by historical surveys, field explorations and laboratory testing. If required, the soil should be treated. This can be performed by treating the soil at the site or by evacuating the soil from to be treated at a different location.

Treating the soil at site has the advantages of reusing the soil, without refill needed, and preventing the need to transport the soil, thus not causing additional air pollution and emission of hothouse gases. Nonetheless, in many cases there is no choice but evacuating the contaminated soil such as when a basement is built and the soil will be evacuated at any case. Another case in which the soil has to be evacuated is when there is no possible treatment. In this case the soil is evacuated to a toxic site where it is treated as toxic waste. A specific case of soil pollution is when the ground is contaminated by fuels. Polluted soil by fuel can be sometimes permitted to be used as cover soil at waste site and/or be burned at “Nesher” factories depending on the level and type of pollution. This is due to the relatively low level of risk for soils pullulated with a low concentration of fuels as well as fire being a possible treatment (when the soil is polluted with standard soil without a high content of heavy metals)