Excavation and Disposal


This process, colloquially known as “dig and haul,” removes contaminated material (soil, solid wastes) from its current location and transports it to a permitted off-site treatment and/or disposal facility. Some pretreatment of the contaminated media is usually required to comply with land disposal restrictions. At some sites, the area to be excavated is not predetermined: as soil is removed the area surrounding it is sampled until all soil around the excavated site tests cleaner than the remedial objectives.

Limitations and Concerns

Fugitive emissions such as dust and particulates are often a problem during operations. They should be controlled.

Communities often oppose the transportation of excavated material through populated areas.

Excavation and off-site disposal are only acceptable if the new location is a safer site. As mentioned above, some restrictions or pretreatment of the waste may be necessary.

If only partial excavation is planned, communities are concerned about future worker safety, long-term monitoring and stewardship, and long-term ecological health.

At some locations where a landfill already exists, consolidation of excavated materials at existing on-site location may be advantageous. This limits transportation through neighborhoods, reduces the contamination footprint, and may enable reuse of the contaminated site. See Landfill Consolidation.


Excavation and off-site disposal are applicable to the full range of contaminant groups with no particular target group.

Technology Development Status

This process is commercial.

Web Links



Other Resources and Demonstrations

See “Mound PRS 66 Technology Evaluation Report,” October, 2001, by Sandia National Laboratories. This report evaluated excavation options for soil contaminated with radionuclides at the Mound Plant in Miamisburg, Ohio. The evaluation included arriving at cleanup goals, additional characterization, the use of geostatistical methods during excavation, the identification of radionuclide field screening technologies, and the development of physical and/or chemical processes to remove the radionuclides.

See related ITRC documents on alternative landfill covers: http://www.itrcweb.org/Documents/ALT-1.pdf, and http://www.itrcweb.org/Documents/ALT-2.pdf.