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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2205 Contaminated Environments

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Colin Pitts

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23


SOEE1135Foundation Chemistry

Module replaces

SOEE2170 Water QualitySOEE2460 Contaminated land studies

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores the complex nature of land and water contamination through a series of lectures covering a wide range of areas of contaminated environments. There is detail on the methods used to monitor and assess levels of contamination The legal and institutional frameworks used to manage contamination are incorporated into the module. The technology and options for remediation are also covered. During the latter half of the module the experience of being a junior environmental consultant required to investigate a site identified by a client as potentially suitable for residential development is reproduced. 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 module is taught through a series of 36 lectures 4 tutorial and short student presentations.


Students will have a thorough understanding of the complex interactions involved in the contamination of land, groundwater and surface water systems.

The inter-disciplinary nature of issues on contaminated environments will be examined through the relationships between the lithosphere, atmosphere, human activity and the hydrosphere at local and regional scales.

Human response to these issues will be examined with reference to legal and managerial frameworks of land, groundwater and surface water quality control within the UK and European contexts.

The 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 module has emphasis on the impact of water pollution on ecosystems and consequences to public health.

Learning outcomes
1. A detailed knowledge, understanding and evaluation of the causes, consequences and options for managerial remediation of a broad range of contemporary and relevant issues in land and water contamination. These are covered in the outline syllabus below
2. To develop the analytical skills to be able to interrogate information relating to a real and complex case study. The case study will be approached from a broad range of contexts and student will be expected to evaluate the interdisciplinary nature of the case study. Students will also be expected to apply knowledge and understanding in order to develop independent thinking to synthesise solutions to the complex case study.

Skills outcomes
The module places considerable emphasis on:
the skills required to conduct multi-disciplinary research;
recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles;
applying knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar problems;
planning, conducting and reporting on investigations, including the use of secondary data;
communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical form.

The module places moderate emphasis on:
self direction and effective decision making in complex and unpredictable situations;
independent learning and the ability to work in a way which ensures continuing professional development;
critical engagement in the development of professional/disciplinary boundaries and norms.

The module places some emphasis on:
using the Internet critically as a means of communication.
collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses;
recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members;
developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills).


Types and sources and causes of land and water contamination.
Consequences of land and water contamination.
Options for management and remediation of contamination
Legal and management frameworks for control of contamination
Consultancy skills required in management and remediation of environmental contamination
Source-Pathway-Receptor approach to contamination
The chemistry and behaviour of common land, ground water and surface water pollutants.
Causes and remediation of acid mine drainage
Case studies of land and water contamination
Site investigation using desk study materials and online video
Waste water treatment
Impact of organic pollution on rivers
Agriculture and water quality
Urban pollution
Ecological monitoring of water pollution
Acidic precipitation
Aquatic microbiology
Tutorials for preparation of site investigation assignment

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours160.00
Total Contact hours40.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

3 hour of reading per lecture and tutorial= 120; 20 hour for the report; 20 hours of exam revision

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Presentation in week 9

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Oral Presentation10 minute presentation on remediation0.00
Essay2,000-word essay on contamination from mines50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Open Book exam48 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

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: 26/05/2022 14:15:14


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