The desk study, also known as a Phase 1 Contamination Assessment, forms the basis of any good investigation. This involves the assessment of historic and geological maps and environmental data for the area surrounding a given site, together with a walkover survey to find possible contamination sources that may not be visible on other information sources.

Based on the findings of the desk study, a preliminary site conceptual model can be formed to assess any pollutant linkages that may be present, thus informing the first stage of risk assessment, known as the generic qualitative risk assessment. The findings of the assessment dictate what, if anything, needs to be done to discount any contamination risks.

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