Dear colleagues,

Since travel restrictions still prevent us from physical meetings, several meetings are scheduled as virtual events which gives even more people the opportunity to participate:

  • EU Green Week, 1-4 June
  • NICOLE Spring Workshop, 14-17 June
  • AquaConSoil, 14-17 June
  • COMMON FORUM Springtime meeting, 23-25 June
  • Eurosoil 2021, 23-27 August
  • RemTech Europe, 20-24 September (hybrid)

The ongoing processes involving soil and contaminated land management within the European Green Deal have been followed by the CF Working Group ‘Soil as a Resource’ with a contribution to the public consultation process on the new EU Soil Thematic Strategy.

Looking forward to getting in touch in one of the online events or working groups!

Keep well, careful and confident!

Martha and Dietmar

COMMON FORUM Springtime meeting
23 - 25 June 2021

Due to the developments around the pandemic in Europe and the positive feedback to the last virtual meeting, the CF Springtime meeting 2021 will be held online again.

Please mark the dates in your calendar! The detailed time schedule will be announced end of May 2021.

A joint ReLASC-CF Minamata Workshop, which was planned to be held back-to-back, will be rescheduled.

Public Consultation on a new EU Soil Thematic Strategy

To cooperate in new European flagship initiatives originating from the EU Green, the plenary of COMMON FORUM has mandated Working Group ‘Soil as a Resource’ (CF WG SaR) to follow and contribute to the revision process towards a new EU Soil Strategy.

By autumn 2020 the European Commission launched the respective Roadmap and already at that preparatory stage CF inputs were provided.

Recently a public consultation was on from February until 27 April 2021. Starting from a set of 12 questions citizens and organisations were invited to respond and contribute.

For establishing mutual understanding among interested members CF WG SaR initialised a discussion process, held 2 dedicated web-meetings and agreed unanimously on a joint statement, which was uploaded to the ECs “Have-your-say” webpage.

Recent changes / new experts representing COMMON FORUM members:

From Countries:

  • France – April 2021:
    - Guillaume Gay and Guillaume Bailly replacing Aurèlien Gay and Christian Vincq
    French Ministry of Ecological Transition

  • Sweden – March 2021:
    - Yvonne Ohlsson
    Swedish Geotechnical Institute

A warm welcome!

MEPs call for EU common legal framework for the protection of soil

The European Parliament calls on the Commission to design an EU-wide common legal framework for the protection and sustainable use of soil, addressing soil threats and promoting restoration measures.

The resolution on soil protection initiated by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee was adopted in April 2021 with 605 votes in favour, 55 against and 41 abstentions. The resolution represents Parliament’s recommendations ahead of the adoption by the Commission later this year of the Zero Pollution Action Plan on water, air and soil and of the new EU Strategy on Soil. The resolution further highlights the multifunctional role of soil, also stressing that healthy soils are essential to achieve the EGD objectives such as climate neutrality, biodiversity restoration, zero pollution, healthy and sustainable food systems and a resilient environment.


SOLACE project: Understanding the links between Soil pollution and CancEr

SOLACE is a JRC Exploratory Research Project that will investigate potential relationship between the occurrence of specific cancers and levels of soil pollution. The Project aims to develop a methodology that moves from measures of concentrations of carcinogenic substances in soil towards the identification of hazards and risk analysis that may help explain eventual potential pathways that cause cancers (i.e. soil-plant-food, erosion by wind and water, etc.). The project will investigate the potential links between contaminated soils as an environmental driver for cancer cases. The project has a duration of 24 months and will formally start during Q2 2021.

To access more information please click Link.

Towards sustainable outdoor shooting and fishing – ECHA proposes restrictions on lead use

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) brings forward a proposal for further EU-wide restrictions on the use of lead in ammunition for hunting and outdoor sports shooting as well as in fishing. The proposal aims to address the risks of lead in these activities to protect people, wildlife and the environment. A six-month consultation was launched on 24 March 2021.

On 15 April 2021 a webinar introduced the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) restriction process, described the proposed restriction on lead in outdoor shooting and fishing and explained how to submit comments to the consultation.

Watch the webinar on the “Consultation on the restriction proposal of lead in outdoor shooting and fishing” here.

European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) - Newsletter

ESDAC Newsletter No.130 (May 2021) -

ESDAC Newsletter No.129 (April 2021) -

ESDAC Newsletter No.128 (March 2021) -

SuRF-UK Tier 1 Sustainability Assessment Tool

The Sustainable Remediation Forum UK (SuRF-UK) published an updated Tier 1 qualitative sustainability assessment tool taking into account the updated SuRF-UK guidance (Supplementary Reports SR1 and SR2) published in 2020. It provides a standardized way of completing a Tier 1 qualitative sustainable remediation assessment and is available free of charge.


ITRC guidance: TPH Risk Evaluation at Petroleum-Contaminated Sites

Sites contaminated with dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) and DNAPL mixtures present significant environmental challenges. Despite the decades spent on characterizing and attempting to remediate DNAPL sites, substantial risk remains. Inadequate characterization of site geology as well as the distribution, characteristics, and behavior of contaminants - by relying on traditional monitoring well methods rather than more innovative and integrated approaches - has limited the success of many remediation efforts.

The Integrated DNAPL Site Characterization Team has synthesized the knowledge about DNAPL site characterization and remediation acquired over the past several decades, and has integrated that information into a new document, Integrated DNAPL Site Characterization and Tools Selection (ISC-1, 2015). This guidance is a resource to inform regulators, responsible parties, other problem holders, consultants, community stakeholders, and other interested parties of the critical concepts related to characterization approaches and tools for collecting subsurface data at DNAPL sites. The guidance helps to develop and support an integrated approach to DNAPL site characterization, including:

  • Identify what site conditions must be considered when developing an informative DNAPL conceptual site model (CSM)
  • Define an objectives-based DNAPL characterization strategy
  • Understand what tools and resources are available to improve the identification, collection, and evaluation of appropriate site characterization data
  • Navigate the DNAPL characterization tools table and select appropriate technologies to fill site-specific data gaps

NICOLE Virtual Spring Workshop 2021
14 - 17 June 2021

The 2021 Spring Digital NICOLE workshop will be organized around 2 different parts. The first part (14 June 2021) is focused on updates by NICOLE Working Groups. The second part comprises of several joint sessions in the AquaConsoil program (15 - 17 June 2021) with topics on:

  • Land stewardship
  • Liability transfer
  • Emerging contaminants in groundwater

Fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly

The fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) provides leadership, catalyzes, intergovernmental actions on the environment, and contributes to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The overall theme of UNEA-5 was “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” and the first session has been held virtually on 22-23 February 2021 (UNEA-5.1). Substantive matters that require in-depth negotiations were deferred to a resumed in-person session of UNEA-5 in 28 February – 2 March 2022 (UNEA-5.2).

The Pre-session working Document on the “Progress in the implementation of resolution 3/6 on managing soil pollution to achieve Sustainable Development: Report of the Executive Director” can be found here. This matter was also postponed to 2022.

As general goals within the February 2021 approved UNEP Medium Term Strategy and the approved UNEP Programme of Work it is mentioned as general goals a “pollution free planet” and as one of the outcomes 2025 “Releases of pollutants to air, water, soil and the ocean are reduced”.

WHO report on redevelopment of contaminated sites

Across the WHO European Region, the urban population is growing steadily and demand for land is rapidly increasing. Revitalizing and/or remediating industrial sites and contaminated land present an opportunity for sustainable urban development and reduce pressure on undisturbed land resources. Redevelopment of contaminated sites entails various challenges, however, and may cause continued environmental and health consequences if contamination risks are not properly managed or remediated.

This report provides the results of an expert consultation on redeveloping contaminated sites for new urban functions, aiming to review the health and environmental impacts of conversion and redevelopment and to identify sound practices to support effective redevelopment while considering health and well-being. The consultation was structured as a discussion of the evidence on environmental and health impacts of remediation, a review of European redevelopment case studies and a reflection on the applicability of impact assessment tools during remediation and redevelopment processes. Summarizing the conclusions, this report identifies good practices and important elements that should be considered for remediation and redevelopment projects.


Protocol for the assessment of Sustainable Soil Management

The Protocol, elaborated in the context of FAO’s Global Soil Partnership, constitutes a fundamental tool to assess if any intervention implemented in the field, such as improvement of productive systems, innovation and new technologies, ecosystem restoration and carbon sequestration, is carried out in a sustainable manner according to the definition of sustainable soil management. In practical terms, the protocol provides key indicators and a set of tools to assess soil functions based on its physical, chemical and biological properties. A set of methodologies, instructions and guidelines will be developed and released in an updated version of the protocol during the first half of 2021. JRC soil team has contributed to it.


ISO TC 190

ISO TC 190 has delegated a new work item on remediation technologies to its WG 10 “Impact assessment”. In early 2021 a first draft document (ISO/Committee draft 24221 Remediation techniques applied at contaminated sites) was made available and under voting. Referring to the description of the scope of the document it is aimed to provide

  • an overview on principles and characteristics of most commonly used remediation techniques,
  • key aspects on design/dimensioning and monitoring,
  • general information of known advantages and limitations,
  • some particular perspectives in a “sustainable point of view”.

Following the acceptance the work to come up to an ISO/DIS (draft international standard) is expected starting to proceed by June 2021. A final result will be matter of a so-called “parallel voting procedure” envisaging a resulting final document as well as European standard (EN ISO).

Environmental Technology and Chemistry - Special Issue: Understanding Environmental Risk from Exposure to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)
Volume 40, Issue 30; M. S. Johnson, R. C. Buck, I. T. Cousins, C. P. Weis, S. E. Fenton

On March, 2021, a special issue on PFASs was released. The 24 PFAS-related articles are structured in the chapters: environmental chemistry, environmental toxicology, hazard/risk assessment, remediation and restoration.


Comparing PFAS to Other Groundwater Contaminants: Implications for Remediation
Newell, C.J., D.T. Adamson, P.R. Kulkarni, B.N. Nzeribe, and H. Stroo.
Remediation 30:7-26(2020)

A two?pronged approach was used to evaluate whether groundwater remediation for PFAS needs to be conducted on smaller, similar, or larger scales than established groundwater contaminants. Nine quantitative scale?of?remediation metrics were used to compare PFAS to chlorinated solvents, benzene, 1,4?dioxane, and methyl tert?butyl ether. Several key challenges identified with PFAS remediation were then compared to the challenges and remediation approaches in similar situations (qualitative analogs). Overall, the quantitative metrics and the qualitative analogs suggested that a different combination of remediation approaches may be needed to deal with PFAS sites and may include source control, natural attenuation, in?situ sequestration, containment, and point?of?use treatment. While complete restoration of PFAS sites may be uncommon, it may be possible to prevent excessive exposure of PFAS to human and ecological receptors.


Suitability of remediated PFAS-affected Soil in Cement Pastes and mortars
Fehervari, A., W.P. Gates, C. Gallage and F. Collins. | Sustainability12:4300(2020)

This study's purpose was to demonstrate the utility of heat-treated soil as a fine aggregate, with a composition and particle size distribution similar to that of traditional concrete sands, in concrete applications. The study demonstrated that complete fine aggregate replacement could be achieved with minimal loss of compressive strength. A fine aggregate replacement ? 60%, a wetting agent was required for maintaining adequate workability. Initial mineralogy, temperature of the heat-treatment, and post-treatment storage (i.e., soil dryness) were found to be key factors. The study also found that up to 15% of cement can be replaced in mortars where minimal strength loss is desired, but up to 45% replacement can be achieved if moderate strengths are acceptable.


PFAS, Total Organic Precursors (TOPS) and Total Organic Fluorine (TOF): "What's the Difference and When to Use One over the Other?"
Obal, T. | Smart Remediation, 4 February, virtual, 17 slides, 2021

This presentation describes several analytical techniques for measuring TOPS and TOF as a proxy for PFAS contamination. It highlights their advantages and limitations and describes specific situations where it is advantageous to use one over the other or to have one complement the other.


Remediation of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Contaminated Soils – To Mobilize or to Immobilize or to Degreade?
Bolan, N., B. Sarkar, Y. Yan, Q. Li, H. Wijesekara, K. Kannan, et al.
Journal of Hazardous Materials 401:123892(2021)

This review presents remediation of PFAS contaminated soils through manipulation of their bioavailability and destruction using mobilizing and immobilizing agents. Mobilizing amendments (e.g., surfactants) can be applied to facilitate the removal of PFAS though soil washing and phytoremediation, and complete destruction through thermal and chemical redox reactions. Immobilizing amendments (e.g., activated carbon) are likely to reduce the transfer of PFAS to food chain through plant and biota uptake and leaching to potable water sources.


PFAS Conference “Dealing with contaminants of emerging concern” – proceedings available

As part of the German EU Council Presidency, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) hosted the international online conference PFAS – Dealing with contaminants of emerging concern from 30 November to 1 December 2020 with over 700 participants from 30 countries. The conference proceedings as well as the panel discussions (panel 1: "Current PFAS findings, positions and related consequences - On a test bench with policy approaches and implementation opportunities?", panel 2: "The way forward: PFAS as blue print for emerging pollutants?") are now available for download.

The in situ treatment of TCE and PFAS in groundwater within a silty sand aquifer
McGregor, R. and Y. Zhao | Remediation 31(2):7-17(2021)

At a former industrial site, shallow groundwater contained concentrations of TCE, cis?1,2?DCE, and VC as high as 985, 258, and 54?µg/L, respectively. Groundwater also contained maximum concentrations of the following PFAS: 12,800?ng/L perfluoropentanoic acid, 3,240?ng/L perfluorohexanoic acid, 795?ng/L perfluorobutanoic acid, 950?ng/L perfluorooctanoic acid, and 2,140?ng/L perfluorooctanesulfonic acid.

A combination of remedial approaches was selected, with adsorption being used for PFAS and adsorption, chemical reduction, and anaerobic biodegradation used for the chlorinated ethenes. Two years of groundwater sampling indicated that the detected PFAS were treated to either their detection or below the analytical detection limit over the monitoring period. Post-injection results for the chlorinated ethenes indicated that the concentrations decreased by an order of magnitude within 4 months, with TCE decreasing to below the analytical detection limit over the 2-year monitoring period. Cis?1,2?DCE, and vinyl chloride concentrations decreased by over 99% within 8 months of injections, remaining at or below these concentrations during the 2-year monitoring period. Analyses of Dehalococcoides, ethene, and acetylene over time suggest that microbiological and reductive dechlorination were occurring in conjunction with adsorption within the aquifer.


Review of Available Software for PFAS Modeling Within the Vadose Zone
AECOM on behalf of Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, 12 pp, 2020

This review identifies the most suitable vadose zone contaminant transport numerical modeling tools (VZMs) to simulate the transport of PFOA and PFOS from municipal biosolid-amended soils through the unsaturated zone to the underlying groundwater, evaluates and summarizes the capabilities and limitations of each VZM in a tabular format, and provides recommendations to select one or more VZMs suitable to simulate critical processes governing fate and transport of PFOS and PFOA in the subsurface.


In-Situ Immobilization of Cadmium-Polluted Upland Soil: a Ten-Year Field Study
Wang, G., Q. Zhang, W. Du, R. Lin, J. Li, F. Ai, Y. Yin, R. Ji, X. Wang, and H. Guo.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 207:111275(2021)

A 10-year experiment evaluated the long-term stability of lime, silicon fertilizer (SF), fused calcium magnesium phosphate fertilizer (FCMP), bone charcoal, steel slag, and blast furnace slag after a one-time application in a Cd-polluted agricultural field. SF and FCMP amendments, in particular, were lead to high Cd immobilization by increasing the soil pH and decreasing the soil acidextractable Cd content, conditions closely associated with Cd uptake by Artemisia selengensis. In addition, SF and FCMP application altered the soil microbial structure and stimulated metabolism pathways, including amino acid, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism. The results suggested that SF and FCMP are stable at 1%, are potentially suitable for long-term Cd immobilization, and provide a strategy to mitigate the risk of food product contamination in heavy-metal-polluted soil.


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 2020 prepared by Paul Bardos (r3 Environmental Technology Ltd) for COMMON FORUM members.

EU Green Week 2021 - online

The EU Green Week 2021 – for Healthier People and Planet will be held 1 – 4 June 2021 as a virtual conference with presentations i.a. on “Dirty footprints on the magic carpet – the impacts of soil pollution on human health”, “Farewell PFAS – calling time on the Forever Chemicals” (both 2 June) and “Who pays for pollution?” (3 June).


AquaConSoil in 2021

Webinar series

The next keynote on the link between crises and sustainable land management is scheduled for 18 May, 2021: “IWRM in fragile states – UNEP’s experience from seven years of IWRM in Darfur, Sudan”

Sign up via this link


The AquaConSoil Congress goes online from 14-17 June 2021


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.