Meopham School, Kent

As part of the governments Building Schools for the Future Programme (BSF), SETS were commissioned by VINCI Construction UK Limited to undertake investigations and assessments at ten schools in Kent and provide Preliminary Risk Assessment (PRA) standards for each of them in accordance with the requirements of the Environment Agency Contaminated land Report CLR11. Meopham School was part of this package of schools.

Meopham School proposed to construct a new school building with car parking and soft landscaping within the existing school grounds, however, the school shared its land with a public leisure centre, medical centre, public library and nursery, making investigation logistics extremely difficult, to this end only limited intrusive works at the site were proposed and carried out using a compact Terrier window sampling rig to form eight exploratory holes in order to identify the ground conditions and collect environmental samples.

The assessment of Meopham School involved a desk top study, comprising historical and environmental research as well as additional information from the Local Authority with regards to potential Part 2A sites, a site walkover survey to identify potential sources of contamination and hazards on site and the intrusive phase 1 investigation.

Suspected potential sources of contamination from a former boiler room, caretakers shed, fuel spills from vehicles in the car parking areas and an electrical substation at the site were identified as potential sources of contamination. The presence of a chalk pit to the east of the site was also identified as a potential source depending upon the maternal used to back fill.

The information from the intrusive investigation was used during the Preliminary Risk Assessment to characterize the risks to the current and future users of the school as well as construction workers that may have come into contact with the soils during redevelopment works. A Conceptual Site Model was developed and all the potential sources-receptors-pathways were discussed with the overall risk rating for the school being assessed to be Very Low.

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