One of our more unusual site investigations has recently been completed. We were called out to a site where a helicopter had crashed some days previously, in the middle of a field. The helicopter had caught fire and thankfully nobody was hurt. As a consequence, there had been spillage of aviation fuel and the fire brigade had attended to control the fire. In addition to petroleum hydrocarbon contamination in the soils, we suspected that Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) may be present originating from the fire fighting foam. We carried out window sampling to recover samples and determine the contaminant distribution, screening each sample using a photo-ionisation detector (PID) and submitting samples for laboratory analysis.
Risk assessment was a little different to most sites as the concern was over potential impacts on crops as opposed to human health due to the location being fairly remote, and people being unlikely to come into contact with soils. By working out the contaminant distribution, we were able to come up with a remedial strategy that will be implemented in due course.