One of the big milestones achieved recently was the preparation of the CF PFAS-Memorandum, which was
first presented at the PFAS Conference on 1 December 2020 and can be downloaded at the CF-Webpage.
Furthermore, CF commonly agreed comments to the Roadmap towards a new EU Soil Strategy were uploaded
to the EC webpage on 10 December 2020.
As other good news of the declining year, we are pleased to announce that the Environment Agency
Austria as an organisation stays available to host the upcoming 6th period of the COMMON FORUM
secretariat. This was made possible with substantial support of the Austrian Ministry for
Environment. Dietmar Müller-Grabherr will continue as general secretary for the next three years
from 2021 until 2023.
This brings us to thank all Common Forum Members and guests for their support, dedication and
commitment during the 5th secretariat period and especially during the tough year 2020 with all its
restrictions, limitations and new formats.
Stay healthy, have peaceful holidays and a good start in 2021 which will hopefully bring back a
Martha and Dietmar
NEWS FROM COMMON FORUM
The PFAS-team under the lead of Jörg Frauenstein has published the PFAS-Memorandum. It was
first introduced during the PFAS conference “Dealing with Contaminants of Emerging Concern” on 1 December 2020.
The Memorandum builds on the results of a survey having inputs from 13 European countries, which are summarized
in an accompanying side-paper (“PFAS – Comprehensive challenges within the end of pipe perspective”). Key
messages and requirements highlighted by the PFAS-Memorandum were discussed and endorsed at a plenary meeting of
COMMON FORUM network members.
As agreed at the CF Web Meeting in October 2020, the COMMON FORUM Working Group ‘Soil
as a Resource’, chaired by Co Molenaar and Margot de Cleen, has been mandated to follow the
process towards the new EU Soil Strategy.
An online meeting was held on 20 November 2020 to discuss possible inputs and comments to
the Roadmap. The feedback was assembled to a document with an annex summarizing
discussions and comments. The COMMON FORUM inputs were uploaded to the EC webpage on
10 December 2020, where any stakeholder feedback (in total: 228 statements) is generally
EEA-Eionet Strategy 2021-2030: Delivering data and knowledge to achieve Europe’s
climate and environment ambitions
The EEA-Eionet Strategy 2021-2030 aims to provide the data and the
knowledge needed to tackle environmental and climate challenges. The
vision is ‘to enable a sustainable Europe through trusted and actionable
knowledge for informed decision-making on environment and climate
priorities and solutions, in line with Europe’s policy ambitions.
Together, the EEA and Eionet, will deliver actionable knowledge across
five work areas, namely biodiversity and ecosystems; climate change
mitigation and adaptation; human health and the environment (e.a.
assessing the health impacts caused by soil pollution); circular economy
and resource use; and sustainability trends, prospects and responses.
Europe’s production sectors as well as consumption and production
systems will be addressed through these five interlinked work areas
The EU Soil Observatory launched on Friday 4 December 2020
A proposed Horizon EU mission provides the blueprint for setting Europe
on a path towards sustainable soil management. One of the proposed
targets is to make sure that at least 75% of all European soils are in a
healthy state by 2030. The new EU Soil
Observatory (EUSO) launched
in a meeting on 4 December 2020 will monitor the progress towards the
achievement of these goals.
On September 17, the European Commission launched the €1 billion European Green Deal Call
to boost the green and digital transition. The European Green Deal Call, the last and biggest
Horizon 2020-funded, includes 8 thematic areas and 2 horizontal areas and is open for
submissions until January 26, 2021. An info day and brokerage event for potential applicants and
for stakeholders took place during the European Research and Innovation Days, on 23 and 24
The European Parliament has asked the European Commission to start a dedicated project to
improve the knowledge base on the presence and the waste management of lindane and
hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) in the EU. One of the components is to establish an EU-wide
inventory of HCH-contaminated sites
The first results of the EU wide inventory of potential HCH sites are now available and a
preliminary draft report is under review. These initial results were presented within a webinar in
order to gain input regarding locating all HCH sites within the EU.
State of knowledge of soil biodiversity – Status, challenges and potentialities.
FAO, ITPS, GSBI, SCBD, and EC. 2020. Rome, FAO.
The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) and 100+ scientists contributed
to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN report on the “State of
Knowledge on Soil Biodiversity: Status, Challenges, and Potentialities” called
for by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
There is increasing attention on the importance of biodiversity for food
security and nutrition, especially above-ground biodiversity such as plants
and animals. However, less attention is being paid to the biodiversity beneath
our feet, soil biodiversity, which drives many processes that produce food or
purify soil and water. The summary for policy makers presents concisely the state of knowledge
on soil biodiversity, the threats to it and the solutions that soil biodiversity can provide to problems
in different fields. This report is a valuable contribution to raising awareness of the importance of
soil biodiversity and highlighting its role in finding solutions to today's global threats.
One of the major recommendations from the report is that soil remediation and ecosystem
restoration plans need to include soil health and soil biodiversity considerations.
NICOLE envisaging 2021 & seasonal greetings by Johan de Fraye (NICOLE network chair)
In 2020, an Academic Sub-group was set up to generate a stronger exchange between the
academic world and industry/service providers.
In 2021 NICOLE will have its silver jubilee. Thus, among others, the website and, by extension,
the digital interaction with the sustainable land management community will receive an upgrade
to make it a more interactive environment and a more useful tool for members.
Furthermore, it is intended to launch a foundation in 2021. The idea grew out of an initiative in the
US - the Abundant Environment Foundation. The foundation would have a European focus and
leverage the experience of the environmental professional community through volunteering and
donations to work with selected NGOs to solve specific environmental issues.
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:
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 2020 prepared by Paul Bardos
(r3 Environmental Technology Ltd) for COMMON FORUM members.
EmConSoil, a multi stakeholder network for emerging Soil Contaminants, has presented the first
EmConSoil Newsletter. Every 6 weeks the latest insights, interesting news and initiatives
much more on CEC’s are shared.
If there is an interest to tell the network about the latest experiences or to announce upcoming
events or simply feel the urge to share an interesting article - send an email to
Registration and find more info on the network and its goals can be found on the EmConSoil-network pages.
Permeable Reactive Barrier: cost-effective and sustainable groundwater remediation Ravi
Naidu, Dawit N. Bekele, and Volker Birke
The expert book on PRBs edited and published by Prof. Ravi Naidu, CRC
CARE / University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia, and Prof. Volker Birke,
Wismar University of Applied Sciences, Technology, Business and Design,
Germany with CRC Press in 2015 is now available for free and can be
MISSOURI (MIcroplasticS in Soil and grOUndwateR: sources, transfer, metrology and
MISSOURI is a one-year European project funded by the SOILveR platform. MISSOURI
responds to IRT14 call’s topic: Emerging contaminants’ in soil and groundwater – ensuring longterm provision of
drinking water as well as soil and freshwater ecosystem services.
MISSOURI is a partnership between VU (Vrije Universiteit) in Amsterdam (the Netherlands),
ISSeP (Belgium) and Ineris (France) and aims at answering research gaps in microplastics (MPs)
characterization in terrestrial media. Its goal is to give a better understanding on the issue of MPs
through a state-of-the-art review and an interlaboratory study of MPs in soils.
A research survey has been initiated as part of the project’s launch as it aims at collecting
concerns and expectations of a wide range of persons: from producers, users, researchers, to
associations. Together with the results of the project, it will be used as a compass to propose
future actions for decision-makers. Its results will be presented during a workshop closing the
project, planned during the 2nd semester of 2021.
EiCLaR (Enhanced In Situ Bioremediation for Contaminated Land Remediation), as an EU/China
consortium, will develop scientific and technical innovations for in situ bioremediation
technologies that will be directly developed into industrial processes for the rapid efficient costeffective
treatment of a range of environmental pollutants such as chlorinated solvents, heavy
metals, pesticides, etc. These technologies (electro-nanobioremediation, innovative
bioaugmentation, bioelectrochemical remediation, enhanced phytoremediation) will enable
bioremediation approaches to expand their range of applications to industrial sites and waters
that contain complex, high concentration pollutant mixtures.
This project will move our proof-of-concept level advances to industrial commercial processes
through laboratories studies to refine the processes and to explore the scientific base and scaleup techniques
and field demonstrations. Our recent advances in nanobioremediation will be
enhanced by studies of the critical microbial component and the use of electrochemical
processes to increase the degradation rate and biocatalyst lifetime. The innovative
bioaugmentation is based on a recently discovered bacteria capable of degrading some
chlorinated solvents efficiently under aerobic conditions.
The Bioelectrochemical system will speed up the anaerobic degradation of pollutants when
aeration is not feasible. The enhanced phytoremediation will benefit from the synergistic effect of
fungi and electrokinetic nutrient dispersion. These environmental sustainable and low impact
depollution methods will provide service companies with the tools to manage contaminated soil
and water and improve environmental quality at over a million sites throughout Europe and China.
These companies will be able to grow by increased personnel and revenue while improving
biodiversity and reducing environmental risks.
The start of the EiCLaR project is 1 January 2021.
German Guidelines for PFAS assessment
The draft version of these recommendations for the uniform nationwide assessment of soil and
water contamination and for the disposal of soil material containing PFAS was published in
December 2020. These guidelines provide an assessment framework as well as background
information of relevance to evaluations. Their primary purpose is to assist enforcement agencies
in their assessment of PFAS inputs into waters and soil.
A chapter on analyses compiles the range of substances, the analytical methods and the
production of eluates for soil analyses. The chapter on assessment criteria and instructions for
use considers water (ground, surface and wastewater), sewage sludge / fertilisers and soilpathway-related risk
Remediation management for local and wide-spread PFAS contaminations
PFAS -as group of substances- are becoming increasingly important in the
treatment of contaminated sites and harmful soil changes. The present
work aid "Remediation management for local and area-wide PFAS
contaminations" by the German Environment Agency supports the
responsible authorities in the pre-selection, evaluation and decision for a
suitable and proportionate remediation procedure, shows relevant basic
conditions and accompanying measures. Due to the different substance
properties of PFAS, the possible remediation procedures must also be
evaluated on a substance-specific basis. The advantages and
disadvantages, the technical and approval requirements as well as their
sustainability are shown for the possible remediation methods.
In its 1-2020 issue of the Magazine of the German Environment Agency,
UBA looks at PFAS: per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances. There are
a total of 4,700 different substances, the effects of which on humans and
the environment are largely unresearched. PFAS are very durable and
mobile. They are distributed across the globe by wind and water and
accumulate in water, soil and living organisms - including humans. The
What Matters magazine looks at these questions: What exactly are
PFAS? How are they used? How do they get into the environment? And
what can be done about the substances?
The informative and inspirational November 30 to December 1 international PFAS
conference, Dealing with Contaminants of Emerging Concern, jointly organised by the German
Environment Agency and the German Ministry for the Environment, can be viewed
at www.bmu.de/pfas until the end of 2020.
Laboratory-scale and pilot-scale stabilization and solidification (S/S) remediation of soil
contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)
Sörengård, M., P. Gago-Ferrero, D.B. Kleja, and L. Ahrens.
Journal of Hazardous Materials, Volume 402, 15 January 2021, 123453
S/S treatment was evaluated at pilot-scale using six tons of soil contaminated with PFAScontaining aqueous
film-forming foam. The test simulated 6 years of precipitation to see how
much PFAS would be removed from the various treated and untreated media. PFAS removal rate
from leachate was >97 % for PFHxA, PFOA, PFHxS, and PFOS, but 3% for short-chain PFPeA.
While PFAS sorption strength increased 2- to 40-fold for both reference and S/S-treated soil in
the pilot test compared to lab-scale tests, PFAS behavior in both tests was generally wellcorrelated. Seven
PFASs were tentatively identified using an automated suspect screening
approach. Among these, perfluorohexanesulfonamide and 3:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (<12% removal rates from
leachate) were tentatively identified.
New Zealand has established a National PFAS Programme (All-of-Government Programm AoG),
led by the Ministry for the Environment, is overseeing and co-ordinating the response to Per-and
poly-Fluorinated Alkly Substances (PFAS) contamination in NZ.
International workshop on Emerging policy challenges on New SOil contaminants (ENSOr) 2021
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2021 edition of the ENSOr workshop will be held as an online
event from 6 - 7 May 2021. During this 3rd edition we will broaden our horizons and include
The event will consist of a multitude of online live sessions during which -for this edition- we will
(in addition to PFAS) also try to broaden our view towards other (diffuse) contaminants, such as
pesticides, hormones, microplastics and so on. In addition to new insights on the challenges of
emerging contaminants, we also welcome topics that explore how to tackle emerging
contaminants in systemic solution oriented frameworks, such as soil care and land stewardship.
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.