Base Soil Report
The base soil report is a mandatory technical document when we are going to carry out an activity that produces dangerous substances that can end up contaminating the soil or groundwater.
In Spain, it is regulated by Law 5/2013 and serves to determine the state of the soil at the time before to the start of the activity, to be able to compare it with the situation in which this potentially dangerous activity is finished.
Thus, it is possible to know if the activity has produced considerable contamination in the soil or if it has affected the groundwater.
The base soil report is part of the authorization procedure to obtain the activity license. That is one more document that integrates this administrative report.
This technical document includes detailed information on land use at present and previous uses it has had. In the base report, a risk analysis is made of the possible spills of the new activity that may affect the soil and water. This is based on the measurements of the current state to be able to determine later if the level of contamination has increased or not.
The base soil report is always mandatory when there have been spills or accidents that have contaminated the soil or water. The base report will also be made when there is evidence of the existence of toxic substances in the soil and water.
When creating a base soil report, we must include the following chapters:
- Identification of the substances produced with the new activity and the danger and toxicity for the environment.
- Analysis of the danger of the handling of those substances. It is necessary to do a qualitative study of the risk level associated to the manipulation and transport of those substances.
- Complete history of the past uses of the land. It would be necessary to document any previous spills, environmental accidents and industrial uses.
- Determination of the consequences for the soil and subsoil of possible spills of the new activity.
Inspection of the environmental quality of the subsoil at the previous moment to identify possible consequences of the new activity. The soil will be analyzed with the quality standards of the current regulations to determine its exact condition
The base soil report is a great opportunity to determine what contaminants are present in the soil, and to know the starting situation before undertaking a new activity.
This obligation must be framed in the concern that exists in the authorities and society to stop environmental pollution. The different public administrations are developing contaminated soil catalogs to adopt the necessary preventive measures and plan their possible recovery.
Therefore, the base soil report responds to the new philosophy that any industrial activity must leave the land at least in the same environmental state that found it. The idea is to stop the increase in the presence of contaminants and decontaminate as much as possible.
There are many activities that pollute the soil and are subject to this obligation to investigate the situation of the soil before the start of a new activity. Agricultural, mining, industrial or urban waste activities contaminate soil and water. Chemical or radioactive wastes are the most dangerous because they alter the natural composition of the soil and pollute the water.
The base soil report also represents a static portrait to be able to establish legal responsibilities. Until now, when the agricultural or industrial activities succeeded each other in a same space, without doing a previous analysis, it was complicated to determine who was responsible for the spills.