It is a statutory requirement that measures are taken to protect groundwater from potential pollution sources. Burial practices give rise to potential sources of pollution and are covered by these regulations. As such, we strongly recommend to all our clients that a Groundwater Risk Assessment is undertaken initially to ensure that the proposed site, albeit an extension to an existing cemetery or the development of a new cemetery, is suitable and that the Environment Agency has no significant objections to the proposed development. This ensures that a suitable site can be identified at an early stage, saving valuable public funds and reducing the timescales of finding and developing a new site.
CDS provide comprehensive groundwater risk assessments (Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3) which meet the specifications and criteria set out by the Environment Agency for existing cemeteries, cemetery extensions and new cemeteries.
We will advise at the very earliest stage, and we offer a free preliminary risk assessment on whether a site is likely to achieve approval under the EA Guidelines. We will also advise whether there will be further spend required for mitigation measures during the design and construction phase.
A Tier 1 groundwater risk assessment comprises a detailed desk study assessment of the site, geological conditions, hydrogeological conditions and proximity to watercourses. Site specific information and burial numbers are used to create a risk score for the site. A T1 investigation is usually only considered suitable for low risk sites and where burial numbers are low (<10 per year).
A Tier 2 groundwater risk assessment contains all of the site specific desk study information included in a T1 groundwater risk assessment. On top of this, ground truthing is undertaken to determine the exact geological sequence on site, the presence of perched water/groundwater within burial depth and the likelihood of ground stability issues during burials. This investigation can be either a trial pit excavation by machine, or where access/ground conditions dictate, for minimal disturbance it can be carried out using a windowless sampler rig.
A Tier 2 groundwater risk assessment with flux modelling is suitable for higher risk sites. This involves a site investigation as set out above - with the addition of detailed pollutant flux modelling, to determine the impact burial contaminants can have on underlying sensitive groundwater and surface water receptors.
The Tier 3 groundwater risk assessment is only carried out on sites which have been determined to have a very high risk/very high annual burial numbers. A T3 investigation comprises a detailed T2 assessment and includes the installation of groundwater monitoring boreholes, groundwater quality sampling and long term monitoring of groundwater levels.