What Is WAC Testing, And Why Is It Important?

by | Oct 5, 2020

WAC testing, or, Waste Acceptance Criteria testing, is used to determine whether particular organic material (most often soil) is suitable to be disposed of in landfill, per the EU’s Waste Framework Directive. In other words, you’re looking to see how certain materials are likely to act over time, once they’ve been buried in a landfill heap. This kind of testing was made mandatory by The Environment Agency over a decade ago, now, and forms an integral part of a huge number of site investigations. Here at Borehole Solutions, one of the UK’s foremost geotechnical investigation companies, we provide an extensive WAC testing service. We wanted to explain how the process works, and why it’s needed in the first place.


How Is WAC Testing Carried Out?

In order for soil waste to be disposed in landfill, it must first be classed as either hazardous or non-hazardous as part of the ‘waste classification test’. How it’s classified will determine the type of WAC test which is then carried out; it’s important to note that WAC testing cannot itself determine whether material is hazardous or non-hazardous. That’s why that prior waste classification test is needed, in the first place.

The WAC testing, then, consists of two key parts – and that’s regardless of whether the waste is hazardous or not. The first part is an analysis of solids, and the second an analysis of leachates. Leachate refers to the liquid that drains from material buried in landfill, over time. In short, then, what WAC testing is giving you is a comprehensive overview of any potential consequences that putting that particular organic matter into landfill might go on to have.


Types Of WAC Test

There are two main types of WAC test carried out, depending on the nature of the soil waste. You can either carry out an inert WAC test or a hazardous WAC test. Inert waste is the ‘safest’, producing low levels of leachate and can be put onto a relatively basic ‘inert’ landfill. If the waste isn’t hazardous but fails the inert WAC test, then it’s put into a non-hazardous landfill.

If, in that initial basic characterisation, the waste is classified as hazardous, then a corresponding hazardous WAC test is carried out. Upon passing this test, the waste will be disposed of in a specific ‘hazardous’ landfill. If it doesn’t, however, then further treatment will be required before it can be disposed of.


Why Is It Necessary?

As we saw above, there are several different kinds of landfill. If we didn’t conduct WAC testing, then it could pose serious environmental and health and safety problems. If hazardous waste were to end up within an inert landfill, for instance, then you would have a far too elevated risk of humans being exposed to toxic leachates. So, it’s in the interest of all flora and fauna that thorough WAC testing is carried out. By conducting these analyses, the world is kept a safer, cleaner place, and our waste is dealt with in a proper manner.


What’s Tested For?

There are a huge number of contaminants that this kind of testing tests for. These include everything from asbestos to hydrocarbons, from metals to chemical pollutants and much more in between. The chances are, if it’s something you think could conceivably be hazardous, there’s a chemical test for it.


Contact Us

So, if you’d like to find out more about our WAC testing services, then get in touch! Contact Borehole Solutions today on 01733 200 501. We also offer an extensive range of other geotechnical services, including sonic, rotary and cable percussion drilling, as well as soakaway, water well and ground source heat pump installations! Or take a look at our Instagram to see images of our previous work.