MULTIBARDEM - Demonstration of a MULTIBARRIER as a sustainable approach for the prevention of groundwater contamination by leaking landfills and multipollutant contaminated sites : a cheap alternative to landfill reinstallation and/or leachate treatment

LIFE06 ENV/B/000359

Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version  

Contact details:

Project Manager: Leen BASTIAENS
Tel: +32 14 336924
Fax: +32 14 580523
Email: Leen.bastiaens@vito.be

Project description:


Groundwater is the main source of drinking water in Europe and its contamination by polluted soils or as a result of landfill leaching can pose a major threat to the environment and human health. The Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) and the Groundwater Directive (80/68/EEC) stipulate improvements in water and groundwater quality by the year 2015. In recent years, in situ treatment of aquifers has become increasingly beneficial, as the relevant technology develops, becomes more reliable and gains greater acceptance.


The objective of the MULTIBARDEM project was to demonstrate the technical feasibility of a multifunctional permeable barrier, ‘Multibarrier’, which combines different principles of barrier technology, namely the removal of pollutants based on both physico-chemical and biological activities in order to treat plumes with mixed pollutants. The projects aimed to prove that the technology could be a workable alternative to landfill leachate treatment and could offer a more economical means of preventing the risk of groundwater contamination than landfill remediation or re-installation. Multibarrier technology would be applied on a field scale in Belgium and Austria, in two regions of Europe with completely different hydro-geological characteristics, solid-waste composition and operating conditions.


The MULTIBARDEM project successfully demonstrated three types of ‘Multibarriers’ in different circumstances and set ups. Although for some substances improvements are possible, it can be concluded that Multibarriers can form an effective and efficient way of treating contaminated groundwater.

Several technical difficulties needed to be solved in the course of the project (e.g. fast breakthrough of the zeolite) and part of the process (biological removal of ammonia) could not initially be measured due to low temperatures in the first monitoring period (winter 2008). By the end of the project, however, a removal rate up to 70% of ammonia was achieved.

Good results have been obtained with the first pilot at Hooge Maey (horizontal configuration) and the pilot at the Pottinger site (although at the latter site the removal of CAH could not successfully be demonstrated). The second pilot at Hooge Maey (vertical configuration) was less successful mainly due to difficulties with the homogeneity of the groundwater flow.

The Multibarriers have a high demonstration value. They are a tailor-made technological solution for groundwater contaminated with a mixture of pollutants. The performance of some aspects of the multibarriers have been evaluated on a laboratory scale. Such evaluation in the field are rare, and thus the onsite demonstrations of multibarriers represents a great innovative step forward. Furthermore, many of the processes demonstrated in the multibarriers designed in this project are innovative, including:

  • Classical biological nitrification/denitrification under in situ conditions (12°C);
  • Use of grape mark as slow release C-source in a barrier;
  • Use of zeolites as an in situ buffer with potential for auto-regeneration;
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Water - Water resources protection
Water - Waste water treatment


pollution prevention‚  landfill leachate‚  groundwater‚  alternative technology

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Flemish institute for technological research
Type of organisation Research institution
Description The Flemish institute for technological research (VITO) is an independent research centre. It conducts customer-oriented contract research and develops innovative products and processes in the fields of energy, materials and environment for both the public and the private sector. The goals of protecting the environment and encouraging the sustainable use of energy and raw materials are central to its projects.
Partners Intercommunale Vereniging Hooge Maey (IHM), Belgium Markis Industrial Development Center, Denmark The Leopold Franzens University (LFU), Austria WPA Beratende Ingenieure, Austria Umweltbundesamt Austria (UBA-A), Austria MWH sa./nv, Belgium


Project reference LIFE06 ENV/B/000359
Duration 01-NOV-2006 to 31-AUG -2010
Total budget 1,506,670.00 €
EU contribution 452,001.00 €
Project location Wien(Österreich) Oberösterreich(Österreich) Tirol(Österreich) Vorarlberg(Österreich) Vlaams Gewest(België - Belgique) København Og Frederiksberg Kommuner(Danmark) Attiki(Ellas)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (EN)
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Project's final report (1.2 MB)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version