Brownfield sites are typically industrial sites where any future use is affected by possible environmental contamination. These sites often contain a variety of hidden hazards associated with the previous activity carried out therein (for instance, hidden subsurface infrastructure) that can pose significant risks for developers and costly delays to the project. Brownfields affect development, poses threats to the environment and population health.
Geophysical techniques can provide a useful tool in the investigation of brownfield sites by reducing the risks, with rapid site reconnaissance surveys being utilized to characterize subsurface features prior to any intrusive investigation. With rapid data collection rates (several hectares per day) compiled with specialist data processing techniques, preliminary results can usually be offered at the end of a survey, providing an invaluable asset to the geo-environmental engineer.
Choosing the appropriate geophysical method or methods is always site dependent. The most common geophysical methods in brownfield studies are:
- EM (frequency domain)
- Electrical Resistivity Tomography