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The Cost of Incorrect Waste Classification

There is a lot at stake if you have not adequately classified your waste soils…
Testing the soil is a small price to pay compared to the cost of delay or inappropriate disposal to the wrong waste disposal site. The sooner you get absolute clarity on your waste soil, the sooner you can plan for the most cost-effective way to dispose it. Testing the soil, will reduce the stress.

Environment Consultants committed to getting your site approved and built

Your specialist Environmental Consultant is part of a dedicated team of Chartered professionals who have been successfully gaining regulatory approval for clients all over the UK, ensuring that their sites are safe and compliant places to live and work.

Our waste soil testing is expertly completed by experienced consultants who are committed to providing you with technically robust reports that are tailored to meet your needs for the site.

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Get Your Waste Soil Test


Get Testing

Answer a few questions, so together we can come up with a plan that fits your timescales and budget.


Soil Testing

We work through the complex process of taking the correct soil samples and classifying the waste soil.


Receive Results

Written with the waste receiver in mind, so you can remove your waste soils and get your site built.

Could You Require A Waste Classification Test?

If you dispose of soils, Waste Classification Testing is required.

Bulk excavation of soils may also be required during enabling works where final formation levels may change, with excess soils required to be removed and disposed.

These soils would be classified as a waste. Under the Technical Guidance WM3, one of the main responsibilities of the waste producer is to classify the waste before it is collected, disposed of or recovered in order to determine its potentially hazardous properties.

Waste Acceptance Criteria

Any man-made soils (such as Made Ground) or contaminated soils become a waste when excavated from the ground and must be disposed of off-site, unless suitable permits are granted to allow re-use. Uncontaminated natural soils which are excavated and have a certainty for re-use on site as part of redevelopment works are not considered a waste.

Waste soils must fall into one of two categories: Hazardous or Non-Hazardous. Each classification results in the following waste codes:

  • Hazardous soils: 17-05-03 (soil and stones containing hazardous substances)
  • Non-Hazardous soils: 17-05-04 (soil and stones)

These codes relate to Chapter 17 in the List of Waste, as construction and demolition wastes (including excavated soil from contaminated sites).

The term ‘inert’ is not a classification of waste.

We can assist our clients with the waste classification and assessment process by recovering samples of the waste for chemical testing. The results of the chemical testing is inputted into a waste classification tool to determine whether it is hazardous or non-hazardous.

Once this chemical testing is complete, we can then carry out further analysis in the form of a Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) test, if required, to determine which type of Landfill can accept the waste. Our experienced consultants are trained in recovering representative samples.

These are some frequently asked questions when undertaking waste classification and Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) testing:

What are the Landfill options?
Waste soils can be disposed of at hazardous landfills, non-hazardous landfills and inert landfills. Some sites, which are not landfills such as recovery and restoration sites, often have similar but more stringent criteria for receiving inert soils.

Does as WAC test classify my waste soils?
No. This is a common misunderstanding in the construction industry that you need a WAC to allow disposal of soils. You need to determine if the soils are hazardous or non-hazardous through a suitable suite of chemical testing, not a WAC. A WAC is only sometimes needed (see below).

Do I need a WAC Test?
WAC testing is only needed when soils are found to be hazardous or could be disposed of at an inert landfill. WAC testing is not required if the soils are non-hazardous and plan to be disposed of as a non-hazardous landfill. A WAC test does not classify the waste.

Which Soils are Suitable for Disposal at an Inert Landfill?
‘Inert’ is not a waste classification, but a category of waste recipient which can only accept waste that acts in an inert way when deposited. Soils suitable for disposal at an inert landfill must not undergo any significant physical, chemical or biological transformations (dissolve, burn, physically or chemically react, biodegrade etc) in a way likely to cause environmental pollution or harm to human health. Practically it must be non-hazardous, not contain organic materials, plastics, metals, contamination etc, and meet the criteria for ‘inert’ disposal through Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) testing.

Can Made Ground be Disposed of at an Inert Landfill?
Given the variability of Made Ground and potential for this soil type to contain a significant amount of non-inert materials which cannot be readily segregated, Made Ground won’t often be considered suitable for disposal at an inert landfill. However, if the soils contain an incidental amount of non-inert materials (following segregation), are relatively homogenous, non-hazardous and meet the inert WAC criteria then this material can be disposed of at an inert landfill.

What if I don’t undertake waste classification testing?
Landfills can reject soil loads which do not have proper waste classification certificates. This can result in expensive delays to your project. The Environment Agency and HMRC can prosecute and fine waste producers who do not correctly classify, manage and dispose of their wastes in accordance with the regulations.

How long will it take?
Testing takes around 1-2 weeks once we have the samples and the results reported 1 week after that. However, if you have deadline to meet, please contact us so that we can consider options to help you. We can offer an accelerated testing option subject to the nature of the testing required.

How can I be sure I need the right type of testing?
If you are unsure as to whether you require WAC testing or Waste Classification for your soils, please give us a call, so together we can discuss your requirements. Alternatively, please send an email to info@lustreconsulting.com and provide us with the site location and description of your issue.

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