EU Science Hub

Status of local soil contamination in Europe: Revision of the indicator “Progress in the management contaminated sites in Europe”


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Abstract: 
On this report the findings of the questionnaire commissioned by the European Commission Joint Research Centre for the revision of the Indicator "Progress in the management of contaminated site in Europe" in 2016 are presented. It has been produced with the contribution of data provided by the National Reference Centres (NRCs) in member states and cooperating countries within EIONET and funded by the country to work with the EEA and relevant European Topic Centres (ETCs) in specific thematic areas related to the EEA work programme. The NRCs Soil are nationally funded experts, or groups of experts, in organisations which are regular collectors or suppliers of soil data at the national level and/or possess relevant knowledge of specific environmental issues, monitoring or modelling. NRC Soil plays a role in the technical coordination of these topics and work with the EEA, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the ETC on Urban, land and soil systems (ETC/ULS). An analysis of the information extracted from the Soil Wiki platform, which contains an overview of European and national soil-related policy instruments is also presented. The Land and Soil Indicator LSI003 aims to answer the following policy-relevant questions: What is the estimated extent of soil contamination? How much progress has been achieved in the management and control of local soil contamination? Which sectors contribute most to soil contamination? What are the main contaminants affecting soil and groundwater in and around Contaminated Sites? How much is spent on cleaning up soil contamination? And how much of the public budget is used? An overall improvement in the management of contaminated sites in Europe has been observed. For the total of the 39 surveyed countries, 2.5 million sites have been estimated where polluting activities have taken place considering the artificial surface. Nowadays, there are more than 650 000 registered sites where polluting activities took/are taking place in national and regional inventories of replying countries; more than 65 500 sites have been remediated. Efforts are mainly focused on investigation and remediation of sites where polluting activities took/are taking place due to many countries already have an accurate inventory. Overall, the production sectors contribute more to local soil 'pollution' than the service sectors (60 % compared to 32 %). The most frequent contaminants are mineral oils and heavy metals. The most commonly used remediation procedure seems to be the ex-situ technique “dig-and-dump”, which implicates the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil. With the available data provided by replying countries, the average overall expenditures to assess soil 'pollution' account for €4.3 billion where on average more than 32 % of total expenses comes from public budget.
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