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European platform for demonstration of efficient soil and groundwater remediation

Final Report Summary - EURODEMO (European platform for demonstration of efficient soil and groundwater remediation)

The increasing political and social awareness on sustainability issues resulted in expectations for the development of environmentally friendly and cost-effective innovations in all scientific fields. Nevertheless, the European soil and groundwater remediation market remained sceptical regarding the emerging novelties' applicability, efficacy and potential for development. Hence, alternative remediation options which were either complementary or superior to previous strategies were often abandoned in favour of the traditional methods, delaying the application of sustainable resources' management in the sector.

The EURODEMO project aimed to overcome barriers and support the market uptake of innovative technologies in the field of soil and groundwater remediation through the development of a platform which summarised all relevant information and provided useful frameworks and tools. In addition, EURODEMO proposed accompanying measures to stimulate the application of qualitative demonstration projects, in order to increase stakeholders' confidence and acceptance of novel techniques. An integrative approach was employed to take into consideration social, legal, administrative and technical parameters that influenced the efficiency of site remediation schemes.

Firstly, information on existing revolutionary projects was collected and summarised so as to enhance methodologies' understanding. The technologies were grouped in four distinct categories, namely permeable reactive barriers, thermal remediation, chemical oxidation and enhanced bioremediation. The lack of qualitative monitoring and evaluation of the remediated sights was highlighted as a critical factor, since it impeded the establishment of an effective feedback mechanism. Generic project guidance was therefore developed, aiming to support setup, performance and reporting of the field progress.

Moreover, non-technical recommendations were provided within a 'remediation technologies promotion programme' (RTPP), in order to incorporate sustainability and environmental issues in decision-making. The RTPP was flexible and adaptable to national contexts and specifications. Furthermore, it maximised the potential for effective knowledge communication through the provision of generic principles, accompanied by more specific technical and strategic information. The proposed measures varied between different countries but included risk-base analyses, fiscal incentives, environmental performance incentives and approaches to ensure public authorities' commitment in all cases.

A framework for sustainable land remediation and management was also established, integrating the favourable effects of the approach with its potential secondary impacts on available resources and the environment. The proposal included a set of indicators for the evaluation and comparison of alternative technologies and projects.

Moreover, a strategy was developed in order to successfully disseminate EURODEMO outcomes, since market penetration was critical for the project success. The undertaken activities consisted of workshops' organisation, participation in conferences, publications and creation of a project-related website. Finally, suggestions for improvement and expansion of the established networks and frameworks at national and regional levels were formulated, in order to further motivate the application of innovative remediation strategies.

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