Further description:- Germany  Contaminated land 

Glossary Entry:- Germany  Contaminated land
Put simply, contaminated land is land containing substances at levels that would not normally be 
present. These substances may be trace elements, organic compounds, gases such as carbon dioxide
or methane, or even plant nutrients like nitrogen or phosphorous. The presence of these substances
at elevated levels may, or may not, be harmful. However, contaminated land is most often used to describe
land where there is at least a suspicion that the contamination could be harmful to humans, water,
buildings, or ecosystems. Countries may have specific legal definitions of contaminated land.
Overview
Contaminated Land Mangrement in the Federal Republic of Germany is governed by the Federal Soil Protection 
Act which came into force on March 1, 1999. A vital extension of this Act is the Federal Soil Protection
and Contaminated Sites Ordinance which governs the key elements of contaminated site management.
It contains detailed annexes on sampling, analysis and quality assurance to prepare site surveys,
on the derivation of pathway values for measures, tests and prevention, and on requirements for remediation
examination and planning. In line with the „polluter pays“ principle the person causing the contamination is held responsible.
Besides the polluter the owner or occupier are responsible as well. The Federal States are responsible for identification, risk assessment and clean up of contaminated
sites.
1. General Approach
With so many different substances being used in industrial production, the high degree and the long 
history of industrialisation has led to the contamination of environmental media in many places
and created hazardous situations arising from these pollution sources. In many cases, the detected
hazards are the legacy of economic ventures that no longer exist or disposal sites that have been closed
down. Experts soon realised (in the beginning of the 80th) that the authorities could not simply wait
until environmental pollution will come to light. It was therefore decided to proceed to the task
of systematically identifying and managing the existing contaminated sites. Depending on the type of site in question, the authorities in Germany have tended to distinguish
between former industrial sites and former waste disposal sites, i.e. industrial land no longer
in use and abused facilities for dumping waste material. A further domain of remediation activity
in Germany centres on abandoned military and armament contaminated sites. In order to systematically identify and record all these sites as quickly as possible, an approach
was developed which first of all evaluates only the available information on specific sites and makes
an initial formalised assessment on the basis of these data. This approach has the advantage of being
relatively inexpensive and quickly to apply but it obviously leaves considerable uncertainty about
the real environmental risks. That is why the sites identified in this way were declared to be “suspected
contaminated sites” and entered in a contaminated site register for further treatment. Subsequently, various methods and procedures of assessment were developed. The assessment procedures
basically follow the same steps, a classification into three main groups: identification/registration,
risk assessment and remediation/monitoring. The aim of the environmental authorities is to be able
to reach early conclusions as to the hazard potential and complete the process of managing suspected
contaminated sites as soon as possible. In dealing with the potentially hazardous sites the first
question to be clarified was whether the initial suspicions were correct and justified therefore
a further, by far more cost-intensive examination and remediation. To ensure that such decisions are made on the basis of sound scientific advice, it is necessary to
have high-quality expert opinions derived from informative investigative strategies adopted
by qualified third party consultants who possess the necessary know-how. Solely the environmental
authorities should interpret the studies submitted to make final decisions. This demands a high
level of technical and methodological knowledge on the part of the executing authorities. It is therefore necessary to provide the authorities with scientific training and to send external
consultants for methodological guidance. To this end, over the years we have seen the development
of a number of practical instruction documents, support programmes for site registration and assessment
and other aids which have noticeably improved the quality and efficiency of the contaminated site
management process.
 
2. Policy and Regulation
2.1 Policy
Site remediation in the Federal Republic of Germany is governed by the Federal Soil Protection Act 
which came into force on March 1, 1999. This Act makes a general distinction between harmful soil changes
and contaminated sites. A vital extension of this Act is the Federal Soil Protection and Contaminated
Sites Ordinance which governs the key elements of contaminated site management. In particular,
it brings together regulations relating to the examination and assessment of potentially hazardous
sites, admissible remediation methods and supplementary regulations relating to remediation
examination and planning. It contains detailed annexes on sampling, analysis and quality assurance
to prepare site surveys, on the derivation of pathway values for measures, tests and prevention,
and on requirements for remediation examination and planning. The implementation of these regulations still applies to the Federal States. The Federal States are responsible for identification, risk assessment and clean up of contaminated
sites.
 
2.2 Regulation
The most important objective of the Soil Protection Act is to protect soil against contamina¬tion. 
This includes abandoned contaminated sites. Soil contamination has been caused where the function
of the soil is impaired and where risks either for the individual or for society as a whole are implied.
Suspected contaminated sites are:  abandoned waste disposal sites are closed down waste disposal facilities as well as
other sites on which wastes have been treated, stored or disposed,  abandoned industrial sites are closed down facilities and other sites on which environmentally
hazardous substances arising from the use of these sites for commercial purposes or economic enterprises
have been handled where there are concrete grounds for suspecting that harmful changes have occurred in the soil
or other hazards for the individual or the general public exist. Contaminated sites are:  abandoned waste disposal sites and  abandoned industrial sites where there is known that alterations of the soil took place or there are other haz¬ards for the individual
or for the general public. In line with the „polluter pays“ principle the person causing the contamination is held responsible.
Besides the polluter the owner or occupier are responsible as well. Furthermore the Act offers the
opportunity to limit the state liability for site owners who are neither polluter nor were aware of
the contamination when buying it. They have to bear the costs for remediation measures only up to the
maximum market value of the site. With regard to contaminated sites, the Act defines the obligations to avert risks and this is based
on the relevant provisions found in the previously established general policy and regulatory act.
It also addresses harmful soil changes resulting from an area-wide diffuse pollutant input by issuing
regulations aimed at protecting natural soils and geared to the precautionary approach.  Site remediation requires statutory regulations, above all to protect the environmental
media soil and water;  a higher standard of remediation (decontamination) is binding for contaminated sites
coming into existence after the Act came into effect;  the concept of setting values for prevention, tests and measures is an important component
of the decision-making process followed by the environmental authorities but it should not be applied
dogmatically when formulating remediation targets;  the case by case decisions on remediation must consider not least the principles of administrative
law,  establishment of an overall strategic concept for dealing with contaminated sites;
 environmentally sound design and licensing conditions for the operation of site relevant
installations (prevention);  financial provision for the occurrence of environmental damage and for the restoration
of land features following the cessation of use or the collapse of user companies;  asking the financial service providers to cover the risks emanating from contaminated
sites;  promoting the remediation of former industrial sites in preference to the depletion
of green space;  public remediation agreements as an alternative to controversial decisions on remediation.
 
3. Funding
Site Project Funding
The over all budget for R&D related to contaminated land is approximately 10 to 15 million euro a year. 
This R&D is related to more than 300.000 suspected contaminated sites. Since 1976 BMBF funded 500
projects with a total budget of 300 million euro. R&D funders for soil contamination are: Federal ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Federal ministry for the Environment (BMU) Federal ministry of Transport, Building and Housing (BMVBW) Federal ministry Defense (BMVg) Environmental ministries of the States (Länder) German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU) BMBF has a close cooperation with the US-EPA since 1991. Focal points of research throughout the years since 1990 have been: Exemplary remediation of Contaminate sites (€ 42 million), Development of biological remediation methods (€ 17,5 million), Redevelopment of brown coal mining (€ 46 million), Application of Reactive barriers for site remediation (€ 9,5 million), Percolating water prognoses (€ 11 million), Monitored natural attenuation (€ 18 million) and Reduction of the consumption of greenspace and sustainable management of urban areas (€ 20 million;
at the moment call for proposals). The programme for monitored natural attenuation (MNA) consist of 8 thematic networks: six networks cover pollutants appearing at typical kinds of contaminated sites (gasworks, refineries
etc.) and two general networks for modelling, evaluation, legal aspects and acceptance. The deliverables
of these programmes will be a recommendation handbook and sector guidelines.
 
R&D funding
RUBIN
Research Type: Demonstration

Topics: Permeable reactive barriers

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |


REFINA
Research Type: Applied

Topics: Brownfields, land management, land use, reduction of land consumption

Submitted by: Maike Hauschild  Who does what?

Full Details |



Market Information


 
    
4: Management tools / decision support and guidance

No further information available

5. Authors


 
    
6. Acknowledgements