Dear Colleagues,

A few weeks ago the corona outbreak swept into Europe and by sudden we needed to adapt to a completely new way of living. Meanwhile the easing of the restrictions is now eagerly awaited. Media report societies wishing to get back to a “new normal”.

Nevertheless, actual challenges and successes may as well help us to raise confidence to develop new practices for coping with known stressors and confidence to envisage a decade of real trend reversal in resource depletion. The new European Biodiversity Strategy 2030 might serve as an ambitious example and considering the EU Green Deal in general, the ongoing public consultation on the roadmap to the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability is still open for your feedback.

Also to be observed regarding new practices - like recently, when our Flemish colleagues from OVAM successfully implemented the ENSOr Workshop - is the fact that conference organisers are starting to make use of digital events. Looking out for the experiences in complementary means we are still deeply convinced on the vital quality of face-to-face meetings - and that’s why COMMON FORUM and FOEN stay intended to hold the next CF meeting by October 2020 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

So the CF-secretariat looks forward to restarting together, for facilitating exchanges and hopefully meeting you again by 2020!

Kind regards
Martha and Dietmar

Tentative date 13 - 16 October 2020
Neuchâtel (Switzerland)

Updated information will be out until 3 July 2020.

Safeguarding Nature – EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy

Biodiversity underpins human wellbeing but is now under immense pressure from human activities. This initiative commits the EU to:

  • curtailing biodiversity loss
  • preserving and restoring its ecosystems.

The EU wants to lead by example in global negotiations on halting biodiversity loss and safeguarding ecosystems. Chapter 2.2.3 addresses land take and restoring soil ecosystems.

The Biodiversity Strategy has been adopted on May 20, 2020.


Chemicals – Strategy for Sustainability (toxic-free EU environment)

The Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability aims to reduce the risks associated with producing and using chemicals. It will simplify and strengthen EU rules on chemicals, and review how EU agencies and scientific bodies can work together towards a process where substances are only reviewed by one agency. The Chemical Strategy is planned for the 3rd quarter 2020. This will help to:

  • better protect people and the environment from hazardous chemicals
  • encourage the development of safe and sustainable alternatives
  • make it even easier to trade safe chemicals within the EU.

The roadmap for the Strategy is now open for public consultation and feedback. Public feedback on the roadmap is being accepted until June 20, 2020.

Free online courses from SDG Academy

The SDG Academy creates and curates graduate-level courses on sustainable development for learners around the world. From sustainable cities to human rights to climate action, each of the courses addresses the fundamental challenge facing our world today: How do people, communities, businesses and governments coexist, cooperate and collaborate to save the one planet we have? The SDG Academy's courses are fully interactive, in order to meet, debate and learn from both the global faculty of sustainable development experts and other fellow learners.


Building resilient Societies after the COVID-19 Pandemic

The International Resource Panel (IRP) is a global science-policy platform established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2007 to build and share knowledge needed to improve our use of natural resources. It includes scientists and governments from both developed and developing regions, civil society, industrial and international organizations.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the IRP has produced a statement, which provides policy recommendations extracted from IRP research over the past 10 years to drive a resource smart recovery from the pandemic, generating socio-economic value while safeguarding the environment. It is emphasised that biodiversity loss, climate action, and sustainable resource management should be prioritized in the recovery phase. Adopting “green” stimulus packages with elements of resource efficiency can lead to cost savings and stimulate economic growth, while being cornerstones for building resilience.

Look out for the full statement and its recommendations regarding land restoration under section 4.2


Call by GSP-Secretariat for case-studies from Europe of best management practices impacts on Soil Carbon Sequestration

The Global Soil Partnership and its Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (GSP/ITPS: http://www.fao.org/global-soil-partnership/en/) are currently developing a multi-authors-publication on best soil management practices for SOC maintenance and sequestration. This technical manual is to date developed by more than 60 authors and is expected to be published in December 2020. It aims to present the main practices that can be implemented on the field, that benefit C-sequestration and avoid GHG emissions. This will be a major publication, with a large spectrum of audience, and will be part of the new flagship programme of the GSP: RECSOIL (Recarbonization of Global Soils).

As in the Table of Contents described, the manual will be separated in three parts:

  1. “practices”, which will give an overview of all the best recommended practices for C sequestration and maintenance, providing data on their potential of SOC storage as well as the GHG balance associated, at the global level.
  2. “hot-spots”, bringing general information on important locations in the world for their SOC stocks and/or potential for SOC seq.
  3. “case-studies” aiming at giving information and data on the application of these practices on the field, with associated SOC sequestration potential and GHG balance.

The editorial board is currently gathering practical case-studies of best management practices impacts on Soil Carbon Sequestration.

Submissions of case-studies are expected by 20 June 2020, with possible extension of a few days. Each case-study will be reviewed internally in July, before being peer reviewed by the Scientific board (composed of the 4p1000 initiative, UNCCD-SPI and CIRCASA) in August 2020.

The ToC, general guidelines and case-study template can be obtained from Ms Clara Lefèvre (clara.lefevre@fao.org) and the GSP-Secretariat (GSP-Secretariat@fao.org); they will remain available to provide any support or information.

The International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers published by FAO

Soils are the vital source of most of our food: if we are to ensure global food security and nutrition, it is crucial that they be nurtured and protected. A particular challenge associated with managing soils to produce food and provide other ecosystem services is the management of nutrients. The International Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Use and Management of Fertilizers (the Fertilizer Code) was endorsed by FAO member countries as an important tool for promoting the judicious use of fertilizers in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Fertilizer Code addresses the underuse, misuse and overuse of fertilizers in the context of sustainable agriculture and environment. It provides key recommendations for different sectors and stakeholders, including appropriate use of fertilizers, nutrient recycling, regulation related to the distribution and labelling of fertilizer products wherever appropriate. It also promotes capacity development and education programs for stakeholders who are involved in the fertilizer value chain.


New documents on EUGRIS, the platform for European contaminated soil and water information. Resources, events projects and news items added on EUGRIS can be viewed at: www.eugris.info/whatsnew.asp. Then select the appropriate month and year for the updates in which you are interested. However, here is a selection of new additions to EUGRIS in 2019 prepared by Paul Bardos (r3 Environmental Technology Ltd) for COMMON FORUM members.

Dal Santo, M. and G.A. Prosperi. | Italian Journal of Groundwater 419:63-71(2020)

Chemical reactants were injected to remediate 28 petroleum-hydrocarbon sites in Italy by enhanced bioremediation, in situ chemical oxidation, or surfactants. Soil and groundwater samples were collected from each site to identify the magnitude of the contamination and quantify the reagents needed. Reagents were either injected into monitoring wells, direct push points, or devoted injection wells or applied into filter socks or an excavation. Remediation efficacy was evaluated using contaminant chemical concentration and physicochemical parameters. Chemical injections led to a reduction of the contamination within one year from application for 62% of the sites. An increase in contaminant concentration was recorded at 10% of the sites, particularly where surfactants were used. This may be due to the desorption of the contamination after the application and a lack of groundwater recovery during pull activities. Pros and cons are listed for each method.


ENSOr – Emerging policy challenges on New SOil contaminants – Online International Workshop

The online conference took place May 18, 2020. During this live multi-sessions event, researchers, policymakers, environmental experts and industry focused on how they are coping with contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) nowadays. Special attention was paid to the policy for PFAS. At the end of the conference, representatives from the different stakeholders provided personal reflections and discussed the findings of the workshop.

For more info, please click here.

The organizers are envisaging to host the next International Workshop by May 2021 as a 2 days event. Date and location will be announced as soon as confirmed.

LIFE PHOENIX Project - Perfluorinated compounds HOlistic ENvironmental Interinstitutional eXperience

LIFE PHOENIX project (co-funded by the European Union through the LIFE Program) aims to demonstrate how a new inter-institutional governance system, supported by innovative forecasting tools and targeted mitigation strategies, can allow to manage the risks deriving from water contamination by persistent mobile organic contaminants (PMOC) in a timely and effective way. This model will help avoid or at least reduce public expenditure on damages caused by persistent emerging pollutants, in terms of human health and the environment. The specific focus of this project concerns a subclass of PMOC, such as short-chain perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and will affect both drinking and irrigation water.

Major expected results include:

  • The development of a complete integrated and inter-institutional system for the knowledge and management of environmental pollution events related to PMOC, and more specifically PFAS (Guidelines), together with international authorities.
  • The implementation of an informative and statistic system that will provide exhaustive information to expert groups (complemented with IT/technical/scientific tools of early warning and integrated forecast to support health/environmental risk assessment related to PFAS).
  • Technological innovation and the development of solutions, which will lead to an improvement of water quality within a pilot-scale plant regarding drinking water and irrigation water.


Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Team, Report No. PFAS-1, 380 pp, 2020.

The U.S. Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) is a state-led coalition working to reduce barriers to the use of innovative air, water, waste, and remediation environmental technologies and processes. In addition to the videos on PFAS (ITRC Explainer videos on PFAS) ITRC has now developed an overview that summarizes the current understanding of all aspects of PFAS from a broad perspective. The guide covers the definition of PFAS, their environmental behavior, evaluation of PFAS in the environment, techniques used to remediate PFAS, major concerns of communities and tribes, how to share PFAS knowledge, and special topics.

Web-based document: https://pfas-1.itrcweb.org/

PFAS Technical and Regulatory Guidance pdf Document: https://pfas-1.itrcweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ITRC_PFAS_TechReg_April2020.pdf

Mills, M.A., D. Bless, K. Dasu, D.P. Siriwardena, and A. Dinal.
EPA Workshop: Thermal state of the Science, Cincinnati, OH, February 25, 2020

Due to the unique and atypical properties of PFAS, there is a need for research, development, and implementation of existing and innovative technologies to effectively treat PFAS in contaminated media. Thermal treatment technologies are common remediation approaches for contaminated media and waste. Limited information exists on the efficacy, potential atmospheric emissions, operational conditions, costs, etc. for thermal treatment technologies specifically targeted for PFAS.

This workshop reviews the state-of-the-science review on thermal treatment technologies for PFAS and identifies data gaps to focus further research.


Uptake and translocation of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in hydroponically grown red chicory (Cichorium intybus L.): Growth and developmental toxicity, comparison with growth in soil and bioavailability implications
Gredelj A., Nicoletto C., Polesello S., Ferrario C., Valsecchi S., Lava r., Barausse A., Zanon F., Palmeri L., Guidolin L., Bonato M.
Science of The Total Environment: Volume 720, 10 June 2020

Short-chain perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) have shown a high potential for plant (crop) uptake, making them possibly significant contributors to the total dietary exposure to PFAAs. The plant uptake of PFAAs is a complex process that needs better characterization, as it does not only depend on perfluoroalkyl chain length, but also on their polar terminal group, on the plant species and the exposure media. Here, a plant uptake study with nine perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) was carried out under the hydroponic (soilless) exposure conditions. Red chicory was grown in a nutrient solution, spiked with PFAAs mixture at three different, in order to extend the range of levels tested and reported in the literature so far.

The results showed that calculated root concentration factors (RCFs) increase with PFAA chain length, while the opposite chain length dependence was present for shoots. A comparison among RCFs and TSCFs derived from hydroponic and from the soil experiment has emphasized their different magnitudes and PFAAs chain length dependence patterns. They could not be ascribed only to soil sorption as a process decreasing PFAAs bioavailability for plants, but also to develop mental differences between the root systems formed in soil and in nutrient solution and to the potential competitive PFAAs sorption to roots in hydroponics. The interchangeable use of bioaccumulation and translocation parameters derived in hydroponic and soil systems would lead to erroneous conclusions and plant uptake predictions.


Plumlee, M., R. Medina, M. Pannu, J. Dadakis, S. Grieco, M. Hwang, A. Wille, and K. Dasu.
Groundwater Resources Association PFAS Week Virtual Conference, 27-29 April, 2020

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) has launched the nation's largest pilot program to test various treatment options for PFAS in groundwater and a planning study to help retailers evaluate how to quickly implement treatment. While the levels of PFOA and PFOS in Orange County groundwater wells are relatively low, OCWD is exploring long-term solutions to continue to meet all state and federal water quality standards. The pilots are being conducted in the Orange County Groundwater Basin, which provides 77% of the water supply for north and central Orange County. The pilot tests are evaluating granular activated carbon (GAC) filters (two 4-column skids with a 10-minute empty bed contact time [EBCT]), four ion exchange (IX) products with a 2-minute EBCT, and two novel adsorbents (polystyrene-based media with a 5-minute EBCT and modified zeolite media with a 2-minute EBCT). OCWD is also conducting laboratory-scale column testing of GAC and the novel adsorbents to use in conjunction with pilot test results to help predict full-scale product performance. OCWD is investing ~$1.4 million in the pilot and lab-scale testing.


More information

See YouTube video on the pilot

Potential SVHC in environment and articles – information collection with the aim to prepare restriction proposals for PFAS

The report covers main findings of two surveys that have been performed with the aim to collect information about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). The surveys (literature research, IT-based surveys and targeted interviews with stakeholders) were performed to support the preparation of REACH restriction dossiers of long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids and short-chain PFASs. Also included were the salts of the two groups, precursor substances and substances that contain these substances as structural element. Furthermore, the report contains some general considerations on the use of IT–based surveys in the context of information collections in regulatory activities under REACH.



As the global pandemic is affecting conferences and exhibitions worldwide, REMTECH EUROPE as a forefront runner decided to go for a digital edition that will take place from 21 – 25 September 2020.

The call for abstracts is open until 15 July 2020. Given you are interested please contact the RemTech Expo Office by: secretariat@remtechexpo.com


Following recent communication, the new dates for the Eurosoil 2021 Congress are confirmed, due to the necessary postponement of the event from 2020 due to restrictions placed on large gatherings in Switzerland.

The Eurosoil 2021 Congress will now be held from 23-27 August 2021 at the CICG Congress Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

The registration deadlines have been aligned to the new congress dates as follows:

Early Bird Registration: until 27 May 2021 (23:59 CET)
Regular Registration: until 28 July 2021 (23:59 CET)
Late/On-Site Registration: from 29 July 2021

Please visit the Eurosoil 2021 website for more details and to register!

See all announcements on COMMON FORUM website

The COMMON FORUM on Contaminated Land, initiated in 1994, is a network of contaminated land policy makers and advisors from national ministries in European Union memberstates and European Free Trade Association countries.