Time was flying, COMMON FORUM Spring 2021 Meeting in June has been fruitful on several important
issues (developments around the EU Green Deal, liability on pollu-tion, CF network initiatives and
WGs), although it was held virtually again. The CF Pre-Meeting in October followed the developments
along the upcoming Soil Thematic Strategy. All Meeting presentations and reports are now available
on the network web-site.
Although getting a little bit tired of not seeing each other but considering the travel constraints,
our next autumn meeting has to stay in an online format but will be held as a sequence of half-day
meetings on Thursdays in November and December 2021.
Meanwhile, we keep following, informing and contributing to the ongoing processes involving soil
and contaminated land management within the European Green Deal.
Enjoy the golden autumn days!
Martha and Dietmar
COMMON FORUM MEETINGS 2021
SAFE THE DATE!
Next COMMON FORUM Autumn meeting, virtual
3 half-days in November and December 2021
Thursday, 25 November 2021 (10:00 - 13:00
CET) Thursday, 2 December 2021 (10:00 - 13:00 CET)
The meetings will be held online.
COMMON FORUM preparatory meeting
1 October 2021
The CF "EU soil policy - debriefing and preparatory" meeting 2021 was held online on 1 October 2021 in order to
share and discuss information, positions and results of the DG ENV Soil Expert Group Meeting held the day before
and to debrief and exchange views regarding the upcoming new Soil Thematic Strategy. Thanks to all participants
for their valuable inputs and interesting analyses!
The CF Springtime meeting 2021 was held online from 23 – 24 June 2021 with topics around the EU Green Deal,
COMMON FORUM initiatives and liability on pollution. Thanks to all participants for their inputs and fruitful
Recent changes / new experts representing COMMON FORUM members:
Spain – September 2021: Lluïsa Nadal Jaume replacing Eduard Márquez Bargalló
Waste Agency of Catalonia, Contaminated Soil Department
New cooperation partner / guest to COMMON FORUM:
NICOLE Regulatory Working Group – July 2021: Micha van den Boogerd replacing Oliver Phipps as
A warm welcome!
NEWS FROM EUROPEAN COMMISSION - EEA - JRC
European Missions: A Soil Deal for Europe
On 29 September 2021, the Horizon Europe Mission on Soil Health and Food has been launched and ‘A Soil Deal for
Europe: 100 Living labs and lighthouses to lead the transition towards healthy soils by 2030’ was presented with
the mission’s implementation plan.
The mission emphasizes the fundamental importance of soils for our wellbeing, livelihood and for tackling
central challenges of our time, including climate change, sustainable food and biomass production, loss of
biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services. The Soil Mission Support project has supported the
implementation plan and will further facilitate its rollout with a targeted roadmap for research and
On 12 May 2021, the European Commission adopted the EU Action Plan: "Towards a Zero Pollution for Air, Water and
Soil" - a key deliverable of the European Green Deal.
Presenting its Zero Pollution Action Plan (ZPAP), the EU Commission anticipated that a new soil strategy will be
launched this autumn 2021 to assess the status of Europe-an soil and take action against its degradation under
the hierarchy of prevention, minimisation and remediation.
Under the 6 key 2030 targets to reduce pollution at source, as the most soil relevant can be seen the last one
“significantly reducing waste generation and by 50% residual municipal waste” in terms of excavated soil and
other mineral waste.
Actions focus on identifying and remediating contaminated sites. An EU priority watch list for soil contaminants
and a zero soil pollution module in the future LUCAS survey on soil will help with identifying polluted sites.
The Commission will also work on guidance for a passport for the safe, sustainable and circular use of excavated
soil. The Commission will also raise awareness of public and private funding to tackle contaminated soils and
The EU executive announced a set of measures to tackle soil pollution in the pipeline but without envisaging a
dedicated and legally binding framework.
Nevertheless, the Commission will only propose legally binding measures on soil protection in the context of the
EU’s nature restoration plan, aiming at restoring damaged ecosystems and ensuring their sustainable management.
PFAS – Annex to the EC Communication on a Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability
The accompanying document to the “Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, Towards a Toxic-Free Environment”
presents the key actions to be taken by the European Commission on poly- and perfluoralkyl substances (PFAS).
The Polluter Pays Principle: Inconsistent application across EU environmental policies and actions –
Special Report 12/2021
The polluter pays principle requires that polluters should bear the costs of their pollution. But this is not
always the case in the EU, as reported by the European Court of Auditors (ECA). While the principle is generally
reflected in the EU’s environmental policies, its coverage and application remains incomplete and it is applied
unevenly across sectors and Member States.
As a result, public money and the EU budget – instead of polluters’ – is sometimes used to fund clean-up actions
that should, under the PPP, have been borne by polluters. The authors recommend strengthening the integration of
the PPP into environmental legislation, reinforcing the environmental liability regime at EU level, and better
protecting EU funds from being used to finance projects that should be funded by the polluter.
SURF Webinar: Applying a Conceptual Systems Model for Sustainable and Resilient Brownfields
While conceptual site models focus on environmental contamination, conceptual systems models seek to predict and
account for all significant influences that may affect the future of the redevelopment. The conceptual systems
model can be applied to various aspects of Brownfield redevelopment, including the reliability of utilities and
solid waste management. When properly implemented, using the conceptual systems model will often result in a
more sustainable, lower-risk project, with improved access to capital, reduced insurance premiums, higher
corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings, and better return on investigation (ROI).
ITRC Use and Measurement of Mass Flux and Mass Discharge
Most decisions regarding contaminated groundwater sites are driven by contaminant concentrations. These
decisions can be improved by also considering contaminant mass discharge and mass flux. Consideration of the
strength of a source or solute plume (i.e., the contaminant mass moving in the groundwater per unit of time)
improves evaluation of natural attenuation and assessment of risks posed by contamination to downgradient
receptors, such as supply wells or surface water bodies.
The document is intended to foster understanding of mass discharge and mass flux estimates through description
of their development and use, covering Concept and Theory, Applications, Methods for Measuring Mass Flux and
Mass Discharge, and a multitude of practical case studies directly related to Mass Flux and Mass Discharge.
20 - 22 October 2021, hybrid (Porto, Portugal and online)
The NICOLE fall workshop will consist of a strategic 2-day review and discussion on the future of land
management, including a technical site visit. NICOLE's 25-year anniversary will be celebrated in the light of
coming from the past going into the future of sustainable land management.
Asbestos in Soil – a pan European perspective June 2021
There are common themes and good practice running throughout Europe with respect to the management of asbestos
in soil, although many variations in approach exist. As demonstrated in this report, there are few European
countries with clear standards and detailed guidance. This document provides an overview of best practice in the
industry with a pan European perspective and with some case studies to illustrate typical responses to asbestos
in soils impacts.
Environmental Liability Transfer in Europe June 2021
This report updates work undertaken in 2010, to understand approaches to, and opportunities for, environmental
liability transfer, from the perspective of ‘problem holders’ seeking a positive outcome for land no longer
required for their operations. It sets out some of the key principles that are relevant to environmental
liability when considering the transfer of land, which may be contaminated. It is a document that will be used
by NICOLE members and other stakeholders who need to divest of or acquire industrial land.
Urban Redevelopment of Contaminated Sites: A Review of Scientific Evidence and Practical Knowledge on
Environmental and Health Issues
World Health Organization 2021
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.
Europe report on Nature, biodiversity and health: an overview of interconnections World
Health Organization 2021
Urbanization, land use, global trade and industrialization have led to profound and negative impacts on nature,
biodiversity and ecosystems across the world. The ongoing depletion of natural resources not only affects
environmental conditions but also has an enormous impact on the health, well-being and security of societies.
Exploring this complex relationship and the vital role that nature plays for promoting and protecting human
health, and in recognition of the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May, WHO/Europe has published
its first report on nature, biodiversity and health together with the WHO Collaborating Centre on Natural
Environments and Health at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
This report provides an overview of the impacts of the natural environment on human health. It presents the ways
nature and ecosystems can support and protect health and well-being, and describes how nature degradation and
loss of biodiversity can threaten human health. It is targeted at readers who do not have extensive experience
with the links between nature and health. While the overview report aims primarily to inform professionals and
decision-makers in the health and environment sectors, it will also be of relevance for other sectors involved
with the protection, management and use of nature and biodiversity.
Global assessment of soil pollution: Report FAO and UNEP, 2021
In May 2018, FAO and its Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Secretariat of
the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) organized the
Global Symposium on Soil Pollution (GSOP18).
Ahead of the GSOP18, the 2017 UN Environment Assembly at its 3rd session (UNEA-3) recognized soil pollution as
one of the major challenges of our time and approved the Resolution 3/6 on ‘Managing soil pollution to achieve
sustainable development’, calling on Member States to take action to address soil pollution. In particular, the
document solicited relevant UN organizations (FAO, GSP, ITPS, WHO, UNCCD) to prepare a report based on available
scientific information and data on the extent and future trends of soil pollution by UNEA-5.
This Global Status of Soil Pollution report, coordinated by FAO’s Global Soil Partnership, its Intergovernmental
Technical Panel on Soils, and supported by UNEP, is the result of an inclusive process with scientists from all
regions of the world to bring the science behind soil pollution. The report was launched 4 June 2021 and wants
to make a valuable contribution to raising awareness of the threats posed by soil pollution and to highlight the
importance of addressing this problem to solve other current global threats. It is a crosscutting topic at the
heart of the alignment of several international policy frameworks, including the Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) and multilateral environmental agreements. Furthermore, preventing, addressing, and remediating soil
pollution will be critical to the success of the recently declared UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
(2021-2030), the upcoming Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the One Health approach.
This report considers both point source contamination and diffuse pollution and details also the risks and
impacts of soil pollution on human health, the environment and food security, without neglecting soil
degradation and the burden of disease resulting from exposure to polluted soil.
Chapter 8 “Status of soil pollution in Europe” is under revision and will be finalised during the third quarter
Launch of the National Soil Laboratory Networks (NASOLANs) database
In 2021, the Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) is paying special attention to the establishment of
National Soil Laboratory Networks (NASOLANs) in order to have interaction between all soil laboratories in a
country, to overcome common challenges and to support each other in building their capacity in soil analysis as
well to promote harmonization processes of soil analysis at the national level and facilitate the transfer of
knowledge acquired by the laboratories participating in GLOSOLAN activities at the national level.
find out the status of the network development in each country;
find out which soil laboratories exist in each country and what analyses they perform;
become familiar with the network’s activities;
discover the laboratories’ and the network’s needs.
At present, the database only contains profiles of countries that have provided information on their national
network and of countries that are not in a position to establish a NASOLAN because they are geographically too
small or have a limited number of soil laboratories. The database is updated on a regular basis.
Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity. Global symposium on soil biodiversity, 19–22 April 2021 –
FAO. 2021. Rome, Italy
The Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity (GSOBI21) outcome document highlights scientific evidence on the
status of soil biodiversity, its impacts and an agenda for action in the framework of achieving the SDGs. The
Symposium was held virtually on 19- 22 April 2021 and attended by over 5 000 participants from 160 countries.
One of the tasks of our EU H2020 funded Soil Mission Support (SMS) project (https://www.soilmissionsupport.eu/)
is to obtain insight in how the objectives of the EU Soil health and food mission may affect stakeholder
The answers are valuable input to support the achievement of the EU mission on Soil health and food.
ISO INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION FOR STANDARDISATION
ISO TC 190
Committee draft CD 24212 on “Remediation techniques applied at contaminated sites” (Technical Committee: ISO /
TC 190 / SC 7 Impact assessment) is under development and provides an overview of principles and characteristics
on most commonly used remediation techniques.
Advances in Understanding PFAS Ecological Risks - Webninar
Kurz, M. and J. Suski. SERDP & ESTCP Webinar Series, Webinar #131, April 2021
This SERDP and ESTCP webinar focused on DoD-funded research to improve understanding of the ecological risks of
PFAS. Specifically, investigators discussed the pathways and rates of PFAS uptake, bioaccumulation, and
biomagnification within freshwater food webs and a tiered approach for assessing PFAS risk to threatened and
Proposal for soil remediation values for Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
M. Van Holderbeke, J. Bierkens, L. Geerts Study carried out on behalf of OVAM
The report discusses the proposals for soil remediation values (SRV) for Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)
and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The report discusses in detail the elements of behaviour in soil and
physicochemical properties, occurrence in the environment, transfer to plants and animals, toxicology and legal
The derivation follows the guidelines set out in Cornelis and Touchant (2016). The calculations of the soil
remediation values were carried out with an adapted version of SRisk 1.3, a model for human exposure and health
risk assessment at contaminated sites.
New ITRC PFAS Technical and Regulatory Guidance Document
This guidance document is designed specifically to support state and federal environmental staff, as well as
others (including stakeholders, project managers, and decision makers), to gain a working knowledge of the
current state of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) science and practice. Developed by a team of over
400 environmental practitioners drawn from state and federal government, academia, industry, environmental
consulting, and public interest groups, it also provides a summary of the current understanding of all aspects
of PFAS from a broad perspective. While every effort was made to keep the information accessible to a wide
audience, it is assumed the reader has some basic technical background in chemistry, environmental sciences, and
Scientific Basis for Managing PFAS as a Chemical Class
Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2020, 7, 8, 532–543
This commentary presents a scientific basis for managing as one chemical class the thousands of chemicals known
as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). The class includes perfluoroalkyl acids, perfluoroalkylether
acids, and their precursors; fluoropolymers and perfluoropolyethers; and other PFAS. The basis for the class
approach is presented in relation to their physicochemical, environmental, and toxicological properties.
Specifically, the high persistence, accumulation potential, and/or hazards (known and potential) of PFAS studied
to date warrant treating all PFAS as a single class. Examples are provided of how some PFAS are being regulated
and how some businesses are avoiding all PFAS in their products and purchasing decisions. We conclude with
options for how governments and industry can apply the class-based approach, emphasizing the importance of
eliminating non-essential uses of PFAS, and further developing safer alternatives and methods to remove existing
PFAS from the environment.
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.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is organising the first EUSO Stakeholders Forum from 19 – 21 October 2021. This
three-day event will reflect the challenges facing soil within the various strategies of the Green Deal and
Horizon Europe’s proposed Mission on Soil Health and Food. The meeting will also establish four dedicated
Working Groups to address scientific and policy questions: soil monitoring, data integration, soil pollution,
erosion and biodiversity. Within the morning session on 20 October 2021, the soil pollution workshop is
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.