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
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
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
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
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
- Identify what site conditions must be considered when developing an informative DNAPL conceptual site model
- 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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
Sign up via this link
The AquaConSoil Congress goes online from 14-17 June 2021
See all announcements on COMMON FORUM website