BIOXISOIL - New approach on soil remediation by combination of biological and chemical oxidation processes

LIFE11 ENV/ES/000505

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Olga Escolano
Tel: 0034 91 3466022
Fax: 0034 91 3466269
Email: olga.escolano@ciemat.es

Project description:


After the oceans, soil represents the second largest carbon pool on the planet. However, pollution and loss of soil biodiversity reduces the ability of soils to regulate the composition of the atmosphere, diminishing their role in absorbing carbon and counteracting global warming. At the same time, soil erosion is a serious environmental problem that is aggravated by climate change.

The main causes of soil contamination at European level comes from the increasing amount waste produced, and the extensive use of chemical products. Soil protection remains high on the European Commission’s agenda. The Soil Thematic Strategy (COM(2006)231) aims to protect and ensure the sustainable use of soil by preserving soil functions, preventing threats to soil, mitigating their negative effects and restoring degraded soils. Soil pollution has already been identified as a problem in more than 3 million European sites, of which around 500 000 are thought to need urgent remediation. The cost of such measures is expected to reach billions of Euros. In Spain alone there are more than 100 000 polluted sites, many of them located close to protected areas, as is the case of the site targeted by this LIFE project.

Techniques for the reclamation of polluted sites typically use ex-situ operations to reduce levels of pollution. However, whilst these have often recovered the soil quality standards as defined by levels of pollutants, they have not adequately considered restoration of the functionality of the soil as a carbon sink for CO2 mitigation. In-situ operations are also often hampered by difficulties in agreeing actions with landowners, high costs and high energy consumption, landscape alterations and destruction of soil structure through the use of heavy machinery.


The BIOXISOIL LIFE project aims to develop a new concept for soil and groundwater remediation that can achieve both reduced soil pollution and improved soil functionality. It will combine well-known soil remediation technologies in a new way to produce a robust, efficient and environmentally friendly solution to addressing organic contamination.

The project specifically plans to combine biological processes such as phytoremediation and biodegradation with in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) in a new, full-scale process to be demonstrated on contaminated industrial and military sites. Implementation is expected to be supported by methods to assess the technical and economical feasibility and environmental benefits of the new process.

The beneficiary hopes to show reduced levels of pollutants in the treated soil and also improved soil parameters and characteristics, such as texture, drainage and pH levels (edaphic properties). In tandem, the project hopes to achieve groundwater quality improvement and rapid land restoration to a level that can support sensible use without compromising current industrial and military activities.

The project ultimately seeks to provide landowners and regulators with a new paradigm for land remediation protocols.

Expected results:

  • Increased know-how on soil remediation as a CO2 mitigation process;
  • Demonstration of the feasibility of treating soil through combined phytoremediation, bioremediation and ISCO;
  • Identification of best practice in such treatment – including a new automated injection device for in-situ chemical oxidation;
  • A 70% reduction in soil contaminants in test sites;
  • Restoration of soil functionality.



Environmental issues addressed:


Risk management - Site rehabilitation - Decontamination
Land-use & Planning - Soil and landscape protection


groundwater‚  soil decontamination

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
Type of organisation Research institution
Description CIEMAT is the Spanish Research Agency for Energy and the Environment. It is an agency of the Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness, which promotes innovative technologies as well as conducting basic research.
Partners Jefatura de Apoyo Logístico-Dirección de Infraestructuras-Armada Española- Ministerio de Defensa, Spain Asociación para la Investigación y Desarrollo Industrial de los Recursos Naturales, Spain Universidad Politécnica de Madrid-Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes, Spain


Project reference LIFE11 ENV/ES/000505
Duration 01-SEP-2012 to 01-SEP -2016
Total budget 2,671,553.00 €
EU contribution 1,335,237.00 €
Project location Madrid(España) Castilla-La Mancha(España) Andalucía(España)


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