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Content archived on 2024-05-24

Protection of groundwater resources at industrially contaminated sites


Problems to be solved
The abatement of pollution at industrially contaminated sites is a particular problem when more than one source of contamination and/or type of pollutant is present. Since local conditions are site specific, each site requires a unique solution. Key aspects of this problem at the European level are addressed by PURE:
1. Recalcitrant organohalides, hydrocarbons (in particular BTEX) and heavy metals are considered "priority" pollutant families and can migrate from industrial sites via the groundwater.
2. Site characterisation, to allow design of the remediation approach, and the monitoring of the remediation process itself are time-consuming, and expensive.
3. In-site technologies, in particular those based on biological processes, are still under evaluation. The management of contaminated sites and the protection of groundwater are key aspects of the EU environmental policy areas and will benefit from the PURE programme.
Scientific objectives and approach
By putting together problem owners, end users and R&D performers (mostly members of NICOLE), PURE aims to a multidisciplinary, widely applicable, approach to protecting groundwater resources. Four sites, selected for their particular contamination and hydro geological characteristics that are in some ways common to the majority of polluted sites in Europe, have been targeted for study. PURE is composed of two sub-projects:
· SICHAMORE: The development of cost-saving solutions to fully describe the contaminated site through reduction of sampling/analytical load and to identify the optimal remediation process.
· TREES, developing preferably in site methods to treat:
1) the pollution core in the soil and hence prevent the migration of contaminants groundwater;
2) the contamination plume. The specific objectives of PURE are:
· to develop a decision tool to assess benefits/costs for different site specific remedial scenario's.
· to develop new, more effective methods to characterise a site and follow the efficacy of the remedial action. This will be based on new biosensors (using soil relevant bacteria) supported by field-based analytical techniques (novel sample preparation and immunoassay procedures), novel fuzzy areal site assessment for data analysis and improved modelling of the movement of the groundwater plume.
· to develop new techniques to remediate complex contaminated sites: anaerobic-aerobic treatment for simultaneous organohalogen abatement and to render heavy metals inert; electro bioremediation of mixed organic pollutants; coupled degradation of BTEX and organohalogens (the former acting as electron donors and the latter as electron acceptors); simultaneous remediation of saturated and unsaturated zones by Thermally Enhanced Soil Vapour Extraction and Co-Solvent Flooding; remediation organohalogen polluted groundwater through co-metabolism with methane/butane oxidisers.
· to integrate developed knowledge/test experience into a report containing guidelines applicable to a large number of industrial sites in the EU. Expected impacts For European industry as a whole, PURE is a great opportunity to develop a consistent EU knowledge base in the field of soil and groundwater treatment, thus reducing the dependence on US proprietary technologies. Quantifiable advantages are a >20% cost saving in site characterisation and monitoring and the availability of alternative remedial technologies to replace the traditional digging/land filling approach, yielding an anticipated 30 - 60% reduction in remediation costs. European citizens will benefit from the broadly applicable PURE deliverables as follows:
· directly, through the improved soil and groundwater quality made possible by the new technologies, and because of the increased competitiveness of the service provider. Indirectly, due to a better allocation of resources, by reducing the resources necessary for the clean up of pollution sources. This will free funds that to spent elsewhere, such as improving industry strength, employment and a higher standard of living

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Via Fauser 4
28100 NOVARA

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Participants (13)