A Desk Study is the first step of the iterative approach to Contaminated Land Assessment.  It is carried out prior to the conduct of any intrusive site investigation and forms a crucial part of the Contaminated Land Assessment.  It provides early recognition of the characteristics of a particular site as well as providing essential information to develop a Site Conceptual Model.  Appropriate further assessment is focused around the Site Conceptual Model derived by the Desk Study.

A Desk Study in short is an examination and review of publically available information about a site including past and current usage of the site and the surrounding area to assess potential sources of contamination and the sites environmental sensitivity.  This involves obtaining information from a variety of sources including the following;

All the information obtained from the above sources provides the basis of the development of a Site Conceptual Model which aims to illustrate the possible relationships between contaminant sources, pathways and receptors.  The Site Conceptual Model is then used as a basis for the conduct of a Qualitative Risk Assessment of the potential sources of contamination from which recommendations for the site are determined.

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