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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2460 Contaminated Land Studies: Integrating Business Skills and Science in Consultancy

10 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Dr Christain Maerz

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

Pre-requisite qualifications

A level in Geology or Geography or a Physical Science

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Interested in finding out how science is used to solve problems? Thinking about a job in Environmental Consultancy? This module explores the Source-Pathway-Receptor approach as used by governments and regulatory agencies to identify the hazards arising from contaminated land and pollutant migration. The first half of the course starts with an introduction to general aspects of groundwater pollution and the Source-Pathway Receptor concept. This is followed by detailed case studies of the causes and remediation of acid mine drainage in the UK. The latter half of the course reproduces the experience of being a junior environmental consultant required to investigate a site identified by a client as potentially suitable for residential development. You will be shown where there are useful sources of information, and how to use them. A video of the site shows how a walk-over site assessment is carried out and small group meetings are used to provide guidance in writing a Desk Study Report for the client.The course is taught with lectures, seminars and self-study sessions throughout semester 2, and is assessed on the basis of course work only. The taught part of the course is also supported by material on the VLE. The course requires an A level in geography, geology or any physical science.


On completion of this course, students will understand the behaviour of common groundwater pollutants, and strategies for remediating contaminated land including acid mine drainage sites.

They will also understand the processes by which environmental consultancies undertake contaminated land site investigations.

The course will follow all the steps involved in performing a site investigation, including carrying out a desk study, a preliminary site investigation, preparing a site report within sensible time and cost constraints, budgeting, and identifying cost-effective remediation strategies.


Lectures weeks 1-2: Introduction to common ground water pollutants. Details of their chemistry and behaviour in the environment. Remediation of common groundwater pollutants. Introduction to the Source-Pathway-Receptor approach.
Lectures weeks 3-4: Causes and remediation of acid mine drainage
Lectures weeks 5-6: Introduction to business and consultancy skills. Estimating business costs. Contaminated land legislation. Knowledge base required to undertake a site investigation.
Seminar/Lecture week 7: Case studies of land contamination in UK and worldwide. Social, political and ethical implications
Lectures weeks 8-9: Site investigation using desk study materials (e.g. maps, historical records, local authority records, background geology and hydrogeology) and study of documentary film providing details of a field visit. Risk assessment processes.
Seminars weeks 10-11: Small group meetings to discuss preparation of site investigation report and self study.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours86.00
Total Contact hours14.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Site investigation report progress meeting week 10

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report1,000 words40.00
Report1,500 words60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 18/09/2018


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