Author Topic: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.  (Read 6881 times)

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Offline Techie

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Re: I would appreciate any advice on where I go from here.
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2014, 11:40:47 AM »
Hello everyone

Following on from my letter I put in this forum two years ago.  However, back in 2008, I was informed by a reliable source that the developers had told the contractors that as long as they can do the job cheaply and lay the turf to the back gardens to last a year, it was good enough for them.  I think that is outrageous and the developers should be shown up and also I am appalled they could do such shoddy work.

I had spent good money trying to retain the grass and patch up what has gone and I am forever digging out the moss.  As the soil is heavy clay and builders rubble, this is not giving enough drainage, therefore, this is why it gets water logged. Know wonder the NHBC said that the garden was not fit for cultivation.

However, two years ago I was advised to contact the Contamination Officer in which he arranged to have the soil tested twice on the front and back garden and the results were two sub-samples of each sample of sub-soil were tested for both arsenic and benzo(a)pyrene and the results are discussed below.


Nine of the ten samples recorded elevated concentrations of arsenic above the generic assessment criteria, the soil guideline value, of 32 mg/kg. These were between 33 mg/kg and 93 mg/kg, however the sub-samples from P5 recorded values of 700 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg. It is considered that the significantly elevated arsenic concentrations recorded in P5 should be dealt with separately to the other elevated results as it is clear that these are from a different statistical population i.e. are statistical outliers. It would therefore appear that the significantly elevated arsenic concentrations are present in a localised area, and based on the five sample positions it could probably be assumed that the significantly elevated results affect up to 30% of the area. The pairs of results from each location are generally similar.

Soil guideline values are based on a comparison of predicted human exposure against a health criteria value. The health criteria value for arsenic is based on epidemiological studies of people exposed via drinking water. Sequestration as a result of adsorption, partitioning, and/or chemical bonding as well as its potential presence in discrete mineral phases is likely to mean that the arsenic will be more tightly bound within the soil in comparison to the medium of the exposure study.

The soil guideline value for arsenic also assumes that all of the contaminant is bioavailable, referring to the fraction of the arsenic that can be absorbed by the human body through the gastrointestinal system, the pulmonary system and the skin. In reality, this is generally not the case and bioaccessibility testing is often able to demonstrate that the concentrations recorded would be unlikely to present significant risks.

It is therefore considered that the elevated concentrations of arsenic recorded should not pose significant risks to human health.


Concentrations of 0.5 mg/kg to 12 mg/kg of benzo(a)pyrene were recorded. The modified mean for all of the results is 6 mg/kg, compared to the generic assessment criteria of 1 mg/kg. For the reasons given above for arsenic, such as the garden size and existing 230 mm of effective capping it is considered that the elevated benzo(a)pyrene concentrations should not pose significant risks.

It was then decided to find out if the soil had been imported for the Close where I live.   Letters were repeatedly sent to Taylor Wimpey but they never had the courtesy to reply.

Received a letter from Eastwood & Partners on the 31.03.14
We are pleased to write with our proposals for moving this issue forward.
The soil which contains the elevated arsenic concentrations in the landscaped area to the front of the house, is already capped by around 230 mm of clean soil and therefore we recommend that a further 370 mm of clean soil is either added on top to provide a minimum of 600 mm of capping, or the existing soil is removed to 600 mm depth and 600 mm of clean soil is installed. 

I wrote back that the front garden has never been my concern.  Clearly whatever is contaminating the front garden is also obviously affecting the rear garden as well - all part of the same building plot surrounding the Close.  It is the rear garden with which I have had all the problems and which needs attention.  I suggest that both front and rear gardens are stripped to 600mm and replaced with clean soil and then turfed.  There are implications of course for the gardens of other properties in this vicinity!

Based upon the comments about the soil testing results being so variable across the front garden which is a very small area, it must equally be the case that soil contamination potential in the back garden would be equally variable.

Therefore, I cannot accept only half a job being done by Eastwood & Partners on the basis of such flimsy evidence and can only suggest that a more detailed inspection of the rear garden subsoil is carried out bearing in mind that I have already replaced the rear garden soil to a depth of some 6 inches to try to overcome this problem.

A letter came back from the Contamination Officer stating they were afraid that the offer doesn’t extend to the rear garden. Concentrating on the front only, there view was that there have been no chemicals detected in the soil that would have caused the slow grass growth you have seen, front or back garden. I feel that the offer to replace your front garden soil goes beyond what Taylor Wimpey are obliged to do at your property. I have asked TW to look at the neighbours’ property as a matter of precaution.
I suspect this will be their final offer, so if you do not wish to accept this offer then unfortunately I can do no more for you on this matter.

On the 01.04.14 I wrote back,  I will take no further action regarding the rear garden until the results of a neighbour's survey are published.   Meanwhile please instruct Eastwood and Partners to proceed with their proposed action regarding the front garden.  I have spoken to my next door neighbour and he says that Taylor Wimpey are welcome to inspect the front and back garden of his property providing they will let them know when they are likely to turn up.  They lost all their back lawn to weeds in the first year of moving in and he also tells me that he has a black substance oozing up in the back garden too. Meanwhile please instruct Eastwood and Partners to proceed with their proposed action regarding the front garden.  Yours sincerely. 

Would you believe I have never heard anything back since then……