Workmen in protective clothing cleaning up site

Contamination and Decontamination

Contamination generally refers to the presence of unwanted components or particles, usually chemical, biological or radiological contaminants, within a particular object or environment. Decontamination generally refers to the removal or reduction of these contaminants. Decontamination can be achieved using physical means or by chemical neutralization or detoxification.

Decontamination is commonly required in construction, medical, and education sectors in a variety of circumstances as follows:

  • Incidents/emergencies such as spills, fires and explosions involving chemical agents which may occur in laboratories, industrial facilities or during transport; 
  • Redevelopment of university laboratories, medical or industrial facilities often requires decontamination of historical pollution that may be present in the building itself or in underlying soil;
  • Routine maintenance of facilities using chemical, biological and radiological agents may require periodic decontamination to meet operational, quality and safety objectives.


Decontamination is often complex due to a variety of contaminants being present with varying risk to people’s health or the health of the environment. As a result a specialist team of scientists is required to ensure:

  • Compliance with OHS legislation
  • Compliance with environmental legislation
  • Occupational hygiene is provided for all workers
  • Waste generated is properly classified and disposed
  • Appropriate validation procedures are in place to confirm if decontamination has been completed satisfactorily
  • Appropriate project management


CETEC’s specialist team of scientists are highly experienced in the risk assessment of chemical, biological and radiological contamination and in conducting and managing decontamination services.  Please contact us to discuss your requirements with one of our team.  To learn more about our project experience.