WAC Testing for Contaminated Sites

by | Mar 15, 2023

Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) tests are used to determine whether organic material is suitable for disposal in landfills. WAC testing crucially ensures the disposed hazardous material will have a minimal environmental impact. This testing technique was made mandatory by The Environmental Agency and the EU’s Waste Framework Directive over a decade ago. Despite the UK’s split from the European Union, it still remains an integral part of many site investigative processes.

How do you carry out WAC Testing?

Initially, a Waste Classification report must be prepared. This assesses the classification and volume of the waste materials present. There are two classifications of waste materials: hazardous and non-hazardous. The result of this classification will determine the variation of WAC testing that is then carried out. A WAC test itself, however, cannot determine whether the present material is hazardous or otherwise. That’s why these preliminary reports are necessary in the first place.

Once the waste materials are classified, a WAC test can then be carried out. This consists of an analysis of both solids and leachates – regardless of whether the waste is deemed hazardous or not. Whilst the solids present may themselves not be hazardous, the leachates produced after years in landfill may be unsafe. Leachates refer to the liquid that is drained from material which is contained within a landfill over time. Should they be classed as hazardous, these materials may then be treated, and sent to a safer, inert landfill site.

Types of WAC Test

There are two main WAC tests that can be carried out. These are either inert WAC tests or hazardous WAC tests. Waste classed as inert is typically the safest; it produces minimal, if any, levels of leachate and has very little environmental impact. This is put into an ‘inert’ landfill.

For hazardous waste, a corresponding WAC test is carried out. If it passes, it’s then safe to be disposed of in a determined ‘hazardous’ landfill. If it fails, however, further treatment will be required prior to disposal. To learn more about the different types of WAC tests, click here!

Why is WAC Testing important?

WAC testing determines the presence of a number of contaminants within the soil. This can include anything from asbestos to hydrocarbons; or chemical elements, such as arsenic and mercury. As such, each of these substances have to be treated and sent to their respective landfills accordingly.

If this testing, containment, and safe disposal is not conducted, it risks significant damage to the environment and human health. Hazardous waste incorrectly buried in an inert landfill, for example, runs the risk of toxic leachate exposure…

Contact us

If you’re looking for WAC testing or any other geotechnical investigative service, get in touch with us today! For more information, or to speak to our team, call us on 01733 200501 or send an email to info@boreholesolutions.com. We look forward to hearing from you!