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Dear Colleagues,

Since the situation bounces from a new normal back to new restrictions we decided to hold the next COMMON FORUM Meeting as a webbased meeting, spread over a two weeks period (9 – 22 October) and avoiding “Zoom fatigue” by limiting for 1/2-day meetings only.

Soil and contaminated land management stakeholders are nowadays starting to draw attention towards the European Green Deal and the Biodiversity Strategy. Subsequently several EC commitments relevant for soil, like the Zero Pollution Action Plan and the Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment are envisaged.

Within such a transformed policy framing as well debates the revision of the Soil Thematic Strategy will take place – interesting debates to be expected!

On the side of the CF-Secretariat we stand available for restarting and supporting exchanges.

Keep well, stay safe and confident!
Martha and Dietmar

Due to travel restrictions in several countries we decided to hold our next
COMMON FORUM Meeting as a

Full virtual meeting
including presentations and networking
9, 12, 14 - 16 October 2020

Precursor “team”-meetings

  • Friday 9/10 10h – 12h: WG Soil as a Resource
  • Monday 12/10 14h – 16h: CF diffuse pollution initiative


  • Wednesday 14/10 (13h – 17h)
    • intended program under (re)consideration, as to provide enough time for discussing topics relevant regarding the new EC semester, like anything around EU Green Deal, revision of the Soil Thematic Strategy, European Soil Condition Assessment 2021
  • Thursday 15/10:
    • Session 13h – 15h: PFAS
    • Session 15h – 17h: Diffuse Pollution
  • Friday 16/10 (10h – 13h):
    • Session 10h – 12h: Residual contamination – a challenge for soil management?
    • Session 12h – 13h: Meeting wrap-up + focusing to 2021
The preliminary program and opening of registration are planned for 30 September 2020.

New members from Countries:

  • Ireland – September 2020:
    - Vivienne Ahern
    Government Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

A warm welcome!

European Green Deal

How soils connect to the European Green Deal:

  • Particularly along the Biodiversity Strategy, which is mentioning several commitments relevant for soil,
  • furthermore in 2021 the Zero Pollution Action Plan and the Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment (here in brownfield rehabilitation and excavated soils) will be or importance as well.

EU Soil Observatory

Aiming to collect policy relevant data and develop indicators for the regular assessment and progress towards the ambitious targets of the Green Deal the EU Soil Observatory (EUSO) is under preparation. For establishing a 1st meeting of the Management Board is scheduled the day before WSD’20, on 4th December 2020.

European Soil Condition Assessment (ESCA 2020/21)

The process to come up with an updated European Soil Condition Assessment has been initialised by August 2020. The roadmap envisages the drafting process until December 2020 and publication of the final report on World Soil Day 2021 (5 December 2021).

Latest EEA Indicator – Imperviousness and imperviousness change in Europe

Key messages
For the reference year 2015, 85 861 km² of the total area covered by the EEA-39 countries were mapped and categorised as 'sealed surface' in the Copernicus imperviousness product, corresponding to 1.466 % of the total EEA-39 area. Between 2006 and 2015, soil sealing (imperviousness) in all EEA-39 countries increased by a total of 3 859 km², an annual average increase of 429 km². The most problematic situation occurs in countries where there is already a high percentage of sealing and where the annual rate of increase relative to country area is high. Though, both absolute levels of soil sealing (in km²) and relative sealing levels (in % sealed of the country) vary greatly from country to country.

Targets Although there are no quantitative targets for soil sealing/imperviousness at European level, different documents reflect the need for better planning to control urban growth and the extension of infrastructures. E.g. the European Commission's Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe (COM(2011) 571) introduces, for the first time, a 'no net land take by 2050' initiative that would imply that all new urbanisation will either occur on brownfields or that any new land take will need to be compensated by reclaiming artificial land.

Thus, demand for new urban areas may be partly satisfied by brownfield remediation. On average, land recycling increased steadily between 1990 and 2012 on an annual basis, with considerable variation between countries, and within countries. Stronger links between EU urban and soil policies could encourage this further (e.g. following up respective 6th EAP Thematic strategies).


European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC) - Newsletter

ESDAC Newsletter No.123 (July – August 2020) -

ESDAC Newsletter No.122 (May – June 2020) -

ESDAC Newsletter No.121 (March – April 2020) -

GSP is focusing its actual activities for preparing World Soil Day 2020 (WSD’20), which in general will take place one day before on Friday 4 December 2020.

The GASP-report (“Global Assessment of Soil Pollution”) is under its final review and shall be published by February 2021.

NICOLE Virtual Autumn 2020 Workshop
The End of Liability
21-23 October 2020

The NICOLE workshop has been postponed to 21 – 23 October 2020 and will be held as an online meeting. The Workshop aims at providing a platform for a discussion and an exchange of perspectives related to the beginning, the management, the transfer and the end of the liability of a contaminated site. The topics on which this workshop will focus are:

  • Legal and contractual issues
  • Technology approaches
  • Insurance, accounting and investment aspects
  • Sociological and stakeholder perspectives

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.

Soil Ecosystem Services in the Alps

The Alpine Soil Partnership (AlpSP) is a regional initiative focused on promoting sustainable soil management and protection of the soils in the Alps. It was found in 2018 and has established a network based on the Links4Soils project partners.

AlpSP has published a report on Soil ecosystem services in the Alps and presents most important soil ecosystem services, illustrating their outputs, provision, demands and threats.

AMIIGA (Integrated Approach to Management of Groundwater Quality in Functional Urban Areas) – Final Brochure and Guidelines

AMIIGA focused on integrated assessment, remediation and management strategies, as well as on the development of tools for characterization/prioritization of groundwater contamination sources.

Groundwater contamination is a problem that goes beyond sites and any administrative boundaries. Contamination sources located in “city core” affect the groundwater quality of “hinterlands” downstream and vice versa. It requires effective intervention at the medium (Functional Urban Areas - FUA) scale, neglected in the existing legislation.

12 project partners have prepared sets of pilot activities for 7 pilot FUAs and developed a management strategy and a long-term management plan to address pollution on specific FUAs. The expected results are foreseen in the short, mid and long-term perspective depending on its complexity. The final brochure presents the FUAs of AMIIGA, the solutions and the achievements each partner has reached.

Link to the final brochure

AMIIGA Guidelines were published which are a practical document that summarize the innovative tools developed by the project. It helps the decision makers and practitioners in selecting and using the most appropriate tools for groundwater management (decision tree, SWOT analysis). The Guidelines are available in English, Italian, German, Polish and Slovenian.

Link to the Guidelines

Bioeconomy—Spatial Requirements for Sustainable Development
Grossauer F., Stoeglehner G.; Institute of Spatial Planning, Environmental Planning and Land Rearrangement, BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria

The implementation of the bioeconomy, i.e., the conversion of an economic system from fossil to biogenic, renewable resources, is seen as an important component of sustainable development by many bioeconomy strategies. What has hardly been taken into account and investigated are the spatial requirements for a sustainable transition to this new system. In order to clarify this, bioeconomy related strategies and policy papers were analyzed thematically. It was shown that spatially relevant issues are addressed to very different extents. Some strategies have a clear technological and economic orientation, while other documents point to the importance of the regional and local levels and the use of spatial planning measures to successfully and sustainably implement a bioeconomy. Overall, the picture emerged that many strategies are still a long way from mainstreaming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as set out by the United Nations.


Marschalko, M., P. Vicherek, M. Vicherkova, I. Yilmaz, J. Kubac, D. Popielarczyk, et al. Environmental Earth Sciences Vol. 79 No. 52(2020)

Previous site activities contaminated alluvial soils at the former coking plant in the Czech Republic with black coal tar, PAHs, and heavy metals. About 1.5 million tons of contaminated soils within three contaminated geological layers were remediated using ex situ thermal desorption. Of the 12,200 tons of contaminants removed, 67.94% were non-polar extractable substances (NPES), 12.25% was benzene, 11.27% was naphthalene, 1.11% was PAHs, 1.11% was benzo(a)pyrene, 0.82% was phenol, 0.16% was arsenic, and and 0.02% was mercury. Thermal desorption contributed to the removal of 90.65% of NPES, while the remainder required offsite disposal.


CL:AIRE 2020

Sustainable Remediation Forum - UK (SuRF-UK) is delighted to announce the publication of:

  • Supplementary Report 1 of the SuRF-UK Framework: A General Approach to Sustainability Assessment for Use in Achieving Sustainable Remediation
  • Supplementary Report 2 of the SuRF-UK Framework: Selection of Indicators/Criteria for Use in Sustainability Assessment for Achieving Sustainable Remediation
  • Supplementary Report 2 - Indicators Appendix 1 (excel spreadsheet)

These guidance documents and spreadsheet replace Annex 1: The SuRF-UK Indicator Set for Sustainable Remediation Assessment published in 2011 which has now been withdrawn and are freely available directly from the SuRF-UK website: Link

Supplementary Report 1 of the SuRF-UK Framework “A general approach to sustainability assessment for use in achieving sustainable remediation” describes a general approach to sustainability assessment that consolidates a range of guidance issued by SuRF-UK since 2011. It provides guidance on how to carry out sustainability assessments for remediation design and strategy setting and remediation technology selection.

Accompanying this report is Supplementary Report 2 of the SuRF-UK Framework: “Selection of indicators/criteria for use in sustainability assessment for achieving sustainable remediation”. This report provides a detailed checklist of possible indicators/criteria to support agreeing the scope of sustainability assessment.

Link to the Supplementary reports

Bardos P., Spencer K. L., Ward R. D., Maco B. H., Cundy A. B.
Front. Environ. Sci., 16 June 2020

The sustainable management of post-industrial coasts is a major emerging issue globally. Along such coasts, there may be a significant legacy of both contaminated land (including historic landfills and non-managed waste disposal) and contaminated sediments in and around urban and industrial areas, which require new strategies for cost-effective and integrated risk management under future sea-level rise and climate change scenarios. The authors review current approaches to managing contamination in post-industrial coastlines, discuss emerging integrated management strategies (building on low input approaches to sustainable brownfields regeneration) and present an approach and framework for assessing and comparing different scenarios for coastal brownfield regeneration to soft re-use and other end-points. This framework can be applied to explore the opportunities for synergy and realisation of wider environmental, economic and societal benefits between coastal protection, dredged material re-use and the management of brownfield land. As such, the approach we propose supports planning and options appraisal to realise maximum benefit and value from integrated coastal management strategies.



The National Remediation Framework (NRF) was developed to complement the ASC NEPM (National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure), and together they provide comprehensive guidance for the assessment of site contamination and for the remediation and management of sites that are deemed to be contaminated. In November 2019, it was endorsed as best practice by all jurisdictions through the Heads of EPA (HEPA) forum. The NRF is wholeheartedly supported in Australia and has also attracted strong international interest. Remediation projects can often be quite dissimilar, each with their own specific issues. The NRF is unique in its valuable guidance for planning and implementing a wide range of remediation approaches through all stages of the process, regardless of the particular characteristics of any individual site.

Download NRF Guidelines

Science for Environment Policy: European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.

A study compares two different approaches to ecological risk assessment (ERA) of soil contamination — one based on laboratory-derived soil quality standards, and another that accounts for a wider range of soil qualities essential for soil biota (beyond those purely related to contamination). The researchers assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the differing remediation actions supported by each ERA approach.


Bulatovic, S.S., N. Maric, T.S. Knudsen, J. Avdalovic, M.V. Ilic, B. Jovancicevic, et al. Journal of the Serbian Chemical Society

Enhanced in situ groundwater bioremediation that included biostimulation and bioaugmentation was applied at a hydrocarbon-contaminated site in Belgrade over 12 months. Treatment was highly efficient in reducing concentrations of total petroleum hydrocarbons by 98.55 % in piezometer P-5, 98.3% in piezometer P-6, and 98.09% in piezometer P-7.


Naseri-Rad, M., R. Berndtsson, K.M. Persson, an K. Nakagawa. Science of The Total Environment 740:139879(2020)

The INfluence based deciSIon guiDE (INSIDE) is a methodology that considers realistic interactions among eight criteria to provide a one-time best option for choosing a remediation method for the project at hand and a management plan for further improvements of the system. INSIDE recognizes economic, environmental, social, and technological considerations for the most sustainable practice. The method was applied to a data-scarce case study in Iran to prioritize between remediation methods for a contaminated groundwater aquifer. The case study shows that human health risk and environmental impacts are more influential than other evaluated criteria.


Water JPI Knowledge Hub on Contaminants of Emerging Concern

The Water Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) includes the theme “Developing Safe Water Systems for European Citizens” with the main goal being to protect the health of European citizens through the provision of safe water. Attention is particularly paid to the impacts of i) emerging pollutants; and ii) water infrastructures on environmental and human health. The first Water JPI Knowledge Hub theme is on Contaminants of Emerging Concern.

The purpose of the Water JPI Knowledge Hub is to share knowledge that can be used by regulatory authorities and environmental scientists, and that will allow professionals to make informed decisions. Another purpose is to raise awareness of these issues among the public.

The topic of Contaminants of Emerging Concern today is considered one of the main issues related to water quality requirements for all different types of water resources, be it human or environmental demand. The Knowledge Hub seeks to address knowledge gaps as well as to consolidate knowledge regarding their behaviour in the environment (water, soil, air, living organisms) and their long-term impact on the health and lives of ecosystems and citizens. Future activities should contribute to a better understanding of the socioeconomic factors that influence perception around regulation and treatment of emerging pollutants and water management practices based upon the use of recycled water resources.


Water JPI Knowledge Hub on CECs Policy Brief “Contaminants of Emerging Concern - an emerging risk in our waters” - June 2019 - download.

First Water JPI Policy Brief on “What is contaminating our waters next? Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) – novel ways to reduce their human and environmental risks” - October 2018 - download.

Water JPI Knowledge Hub on CECs Stakeholder Brief “Continuous increase of CECs in the anthroposphere as a stressor for water resources” – January 2020 – download.

Understanding and Managing the Potential By?Products of PFAS Destruction
Horst, J., J. McDonough, I. Ross, and E. Houtz | Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation 40(2):17-27(2020)

This column gathers evidence from literature and looks at potential byproducts associated with commercially-available and developing treatment technologies implemented to destroy PFAS or have the potential to create PFAS from their precursors.


PFAS Central

PFAS Central provides current and curated information about PFAS, including press, peer-reviewed scientific articles, meetings, job listings, and consumer information. The content is provided by a partnership between the Green Science Policy Institute (Berkeley, California, USA) and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts, USA).


A Grip on Hazardous Substances

Society is increasingly shaken up by reports of hazardous substances that widely occur within the physical environment and that prove to be dangerous, or for which the risks are still unclear. For example, recently, the presence of PFAS in soils has been a general concern.

In this advisory of the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure in the Netherlands about hazardous substances, the Rli makes 10 recommendations to effectuate a better grip on the dispersion of substances within the physical environment, reduce the adverse effects of cumulative exposure and move towards a safe circular economy by 2050. These recommendations focus primarily on government action, although improving the quality of the physical environment is a joint task of government authorities, the business community, citizens, civil society organisations and knowledge institutions. Knowing which substances are in which products and what risks are involved is crucial to achieve safe closed-loop systems.


Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, 10 pp, 2019

The Moose Creek Facility thermally remediates contaminated soils and other related materials and is now permitted to accept PFAS-contaminated soils. A preliminary test in November 2017 demonstrated proof-of-concept and evaluated operational requirements to thermally remove PFAS from contaminated soil on a commercial scale. Following positive results, a second test trial was completed in May 2018 to evaluate operating capacities, establish operational procedures, and quantify air emissions. Pre- and post-remediation testing of the initial volume of PFAS-contaminated soil was completed. A general description of the facility, a summary of the 2018 test trial, and a summary of the 2019 compliance source test and commercial operations soil remediation results are provided.


Environmental Science: Process and Impacts 21:1797-1990(2019)

The Royal Society of Chemistry generated a themed issue that focuses on PFAS. The topics covered by the issue include sources, merging analytical methods for addressing the number and diversity of PFAS, fate, and transport, bioaccumulation in wildlife, human exposure pathways, effects, regulation, and treatment technologies. The introduction is available at


Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, 10 pp, 2019

The Moose Creek Facility thermally remediates contaminated soils and other related materials and is now permitted to accept PFAS-contaminated soils. A preliminary test in November 2017 demonstrated proof-of-concept and evaluated operational requirements to thermally remove PFAS from contaminated soil on a commercial scale. Following positive results, a second test trial was completed in May 2018 to evaluate operating capacities, establish operational procedures, and quantify air emissions. Pre- and post-remediation testing of the initial volume of PFAS-contaminated soil was completed. A general description of the facility, a summary of the 2018 test trial, and a summary of the 2019 compliance source test and commercial operations soil remediation results are provided.


Scientific Basis for Managing PFAS as a Chemical Class
C. F. Kwiatkowski et al.; Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2020

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.


ITRC Risk Communication Toolkit

This resource was developed by three current ITRC teams: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), 1,4-Dioxane, and Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms (HCBs). The purpose of the Toolkit is to recognize that risk communication is broader than any specific environmental issue and highlight the value of this science-based communication approach. The Risk Communication Toolkit is a resource for aiding state personnel, other lead organizations, and stakeholders in understanding and communicating risk associated with emerging environmental issues and concerns. This Toolkit contains: an overview of risk communication concepts; steps to develop a risk communication plan and stakeholder outreach activities; guidance for drafting press releases and analytical result summary letters, case studies, and a risk communication plan template; and additional tools and case studies added and updated by ITRC teams as they are developed. View and use at https://rct-1.itrcweb.org.

As part of the PFAS team training videos, a PFAS Risk Communication video has been developed.

PFASs - Avoiding the streetlight effect
An overview of the current situation in the EU

In this report, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has used REACH registrations of PFASs, independent literature, technical information from producers and general chemical knowledge to sketch the landscape of which types of PFASs are most prevalent in products and likely lead to highest environmental pressures.

It is concluded that the types of PFASs one should most care about are: fluorotelomer substances (FTs) and the side-chain fluorinated polymers (SCFPs) they give rise to, as well as fluorinated (poly)ethers.

This report is also meant as an introduction to the world and chemistry of PFASs.


New PFAS rules in Michigan, USA

Starting on 3rd August 2020, Michigan has some of the strictest rules in the USA, limiting chemical contaminants in drinking water supplies. The rules are governing the presence of seven per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in drinking water.

The rules set maximum contaminant levels at

  • 6 parts per trillion for PFNA;
  • 8 ppt for PFOA;
  • 400,000 ppt for PFHxA;
  • 16 ppt for PFOS;
  • 51 ppt for PFHxS;
  • 420 ppt for PFBS and
  • 370 ppt for HFPO-DA or Gen X.


Abriola, L.M. and T.K. Strathmann. SERDP & ESTCP Webinar Series, Webinar #116, July 2020

On July 23 2020, a webinar discussed approaches to better characterize PFAS fate and transport in the subsurface, as well as a novel technology for PFAS destruction. Specifically, investigators presented results of experiments, mathematical modeling, and decision tool development to further understand PFAS fate and transport in the subsurface as well as a novel technology to treat PFAS in water and other high moisture content wastes.


Conder, J., J. Arblaster, and K. Bridges, SERDP & ESTCP Workshop, 9 March, Westminster, CO, 2020

The workshop provided an overview of ecological risk assessments for PFAS, including a state-of-the-science overview of the fate, exposure, and toxicity of PFAS in ecosystems. Presentations focused on the recently-released guidance document, "Guidance for Assessing the Ecological Risks of PFAS to Threatened and Endangered Species at Aqueous Film Forming Foam Impacted Sites" (Link).

The workshop also provided a hands-on demonstration of the customizable ERA Model Tool that enables ecological risk assessors to enter site-specific data, such as concentrations of PFAS in sediment, water, soil, and/or biota, along with typical exposure factors for site-relevant wildlife species of interest and available toxicological information for common PFAS. See a video recording of all presentations on YouTube


PFAS - Methods and guidance for sampling and analyzing water and other environmental media
EPA/600/F-17/022h ?Updated January 2020

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of manufactured compounds used in a variety of industries, such as aerospace, automotive, textiles, and electronics, and are used in some food packaging and firefighting materials. EPA methods for analyzing PFAS in environmental media are in various stages of development. This document summarizes EPA's efforts to develop validated robust analytical methods for groundwater, surface water, wastewater, and solids, including soils, sediments, and biosolids.


Field Sampling Materials Unlikely Source of Contamination for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Field Samples
Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2020, 7, 3, 156–163

It is important that sample collection and shipping for monitoring perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in groundwater and soil do not contribute to PFAS concentrations in samples. Recommendations in state and federal PFAS sampling guidance documents are not supported by analytical data nor plausible pathways for exposure. Sixty-six materials were analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for 52 PFAS and total fluorine by particle-induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE) spectroscopy. Strict limitations placed on field materials without plausible contact with field samples are not supported, and future efforts should focus only on materials that come in direct contact with field samples and have a plausible pathway for impacting the concentrations of PFAS to levels of concern.


Europe’s PFAS problem: situation briefings by independent experts

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) offers 4 free 60-minute refresher webinars every Monday in September 2020 with leading independent experts about PFAS on the eve of an EU action plan:

Session 3: PFAS and the essential use concept
Thursday 17th September 2020, 14:00 (CEST)

Session 4: Measuring PFAS- possibilities and challenges
Monday 21st September 2020, 14:00 (CEST)

Please register here: https://europespfasproblem-situationbriefingsbyexperts.eventbrite.com/

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