Buried illegal waste and uncontrolled legal waste dumps are a major problem throughout the world, both in developing and more economically developed countries. Criminal investigations can effectively use geoscience techniques to better understand how to locate and characterize such waste. When a case is brought to the courts, the volume, areal extent of the likely waste and land ownership needs to be estimated. This article presents a brief overview of how the investigative process currently occurs and evidences the estimation of waste volume and land owner areas by a case study. The case study illustrates how a combination of geodetic topographic and near-surface geophysics surveys were used to both determine the amount of illegal waste present on a site and assess whose land (in this case, above or below High Tide Mark) the material had been buried on.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to thank Police Search Advisers and Crime Scene Investigators from the Police Service of Northern Ireland for assistance. The Geological Survey of Northern Ireland are acknowledged for providing local borehole and intrusive investigation reports. A 2003 SRIF3 grant supported the purchase of geophysical and survey equipment at Keele University. Two anonymous reviewers made speedy, very thorough, and helpful comments, for which the authors thank them.
The Northern Ireland Environmental Agency is thanked for providing financial and logistical support for this project. A 2003 SRIF3 grant supported the purchase of geophysical and survey equipment at Keele University.
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- ground penetrating radar
- Illegally buried waste
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law