M A Smith



Key Publications








For a detailed list of post 1978 publications on contaminated land click here


Thirty years of site investigation - more but is it better?, M A Smith, in: Proc. Conf. Contaminated Land: Achievements and Aspirations,  September 2004, EPP Publications (Chiswick) 2004.

The risks to human health that might arise from contaminated land were first recognised as an issue by the UK government about 30 years ago. However, there are earlier references to various aspects of contaminated land in the technical literature from earlier decades (including the potential problems posed by landfill gas).

The basic question regarding site investigation and assessment is whether this long period for technical development and collective experience is properly reflected in what we currently do by way of site investigation and how we assess the results. Perhaps, too often we still hear excuses for poor work based on the premise that contaminated land is a new issue - which it is clearly not. Nor should we accept any suggestion that a "risk-based approach" is new. It is explicit in early guidance from both the Greater London Council and the Interdepartmental Committee on the Redevelopment of Contaminated Land although the terminology employed may differ from that used more recently (see below). The original CIRIA guidance on human health risk assessment was published in 1995.

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Management of Polluted and Other Degraded Soils, M A Smith, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Rome) – to be published.

The Bulletin deals with the management of contaminated, polluted and degraded soils for use in agriculture and horticulture etc. Contamination is taken to be the presence of potentially harmful substances of agents as a result of human activity; pollution as the condition when potentiaaly harmful substances or other agents introduced as a result of human activity are present in sufficient quantity to cause harm; and degradation as any process, including pollution, causing harm to any property or function of a soil. It thus includes, for example,  loss of soil physical structure due to compaction and destruction of soil profiles during surface mining.

The final draft was submitted to FAO in April 2001 but remains unpublished in 2012 laregly because othe rparties failed to submit their contributions.

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Procedure for the Assessment and Management of Risks to Buildings, Building Materials and Services from Land Contamination. In preparation (June 2001) by Building Research Establishment and M A Smith.

More information on project

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Risks of Contaminated Land to Buildings, Building Materials and Services. S Garvin, R Hartless, M Smith, S Manchester & P Tedd, Environment Agency Technical Report P331 (WRc, Swindon, 2000).

A literature review prepared for the Environment Agency by the Building Research Establishment with support from M A Smith Environmental Consultancy. The review provides a summary of relevant international literature about:

  • performance of building materials in aggressive ground conditions, especially those resulting from contamination

  • underground fires 

  • expansive slags

  • building on fill (i.e. geotechnical risks).

More information on project

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NATO/CCMS Pilot Study: Evaluation of Demonstrated and Emerging Technologies for the Treatment of Contaminated Land and Groundwater (Phase II): Final Report. M A Smith (edit), US Environmental Protection Agency (Washington DC) 1998.

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Risk-based Contaminated Land Investigation and Assessment. J Petts, T Cairney and M A Smith, (Wiley, London, 1997).

This book is intended to support students and practioners in their understanding and practice of contaminated land risk assessment. The book provides the information required to understand, and make judgements about , the nature and extent of risks presented by contaminated sites. It some familiarity with environmental processes and with general contaminated land guidance. Ecological risk assessment is not specifically addressed.

The book was developed from a course on site investigation now run annually by the Centre for Environmental Research and Training (CERT) of Birminham University.

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An overview of current research on site investigation technologies and methodologies. M A Smith, Land Contamination and Reclamation, 1996, 4 (3), 149-157.

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Remedial Treatment for Contaminated Land, Volumes 1 to 12. M R Harris, S M Herbert and M A Smith. (Construction Industry Research and Information Association, London 1995/97), Special Publications 101 to 112.

The twelve volumes deal with:

  1. The scope and contents of the series of  12 volumes (SP101)

  2. Decommissioning, decontamination and demolition of industrial buildings and plants (SP102)

  3. Site investigation and assessment (SP103)

  4. Classification and selection of remedial methods (SP104)

  5. Excavation and disposal (SP105)

  6. Containment and hydraulic measures (SP106)

  7. In-situ remedial methods for soils, sludges and sediments (SP107)

  8. In-situ remedial methods for contaminated groundwater and other liquids (SP108)

  9. In-situ treatment methods for soils, sludges and sediments (SP109)

  10. Special situations (SP110)

  11. Planning and management (SP111)

  12. Policy and legislation

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Decommissioning, Mothballing and Revamping. M Briggs, S Buck and M Smith (edits), (Institution of Chemical Engineers, Rugby 1996).

The guide is written from a process engineering perspective and is aimed primarily at chemical engineers. However, no decommissioning is carried outby process engineers alone; many other disciplines are involved. The guide has been written with three groupsd in mind: decommissioners, plant operators, and plant designers. It is intended to be a useful starter for junior engineers with little engineering practice, and also for more experienced engineers who have not previously been involved in decommissioning. The guide covers professional responsibilites and legal requirements, project risk and uncertainties, project definition and management, and project execution.

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For a detailed list of publications on contaminated land click here


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