The information most-readily available during site investigations is usually related to the last known activities (e.g. agriculture, industry, dump).
The other families of pollutants that may be present in the soil must be deduced from the history of the site.
When the site's history is not well known, a more extensive study is done to identify as many of the contaminants related to industrial activities as possible
and quantify those detected in the soil. This can be done using matrices of activities and pollutants developed for potentially contaminated site management
The main families of pollutants found in contaminated sites are:
•hydrocarbons or mineral oil
•volatile aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons
•polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
•dioxins and furans
•polychlorinated biphenyls and polychlorinated terphenyls
•phenols and chlorinated phenols
•surface active agents
•chemical substances for military use and explosives
•other organic chemicals such as: polar solvents (alcohols, ketones, aldehydes), aromatic and aliphatic amines, chlorinated and nitrated benzene derivatives
Risk assessment can be done using the French Toxicological and Environmental data provided by the National Institute for the Environment and Industrial
Risk (INERIS - http://www.ineris.fr) (3).
The National Health and Environment Plan (PNSE 2004-2008) has focused some actions on specific contaminants:
•Action 11: Reduce water and soil pollution caused by pesticides and some potentially dangerous substances (pharmaceutical drugs, hormone disrupting
•Action 12: Prevent and reduce the specific risk due to exposure to mercury in French Guiana, and to pesticides in Guadeloupe and Martinique
Since 2004, the Ministry in charge of the environment has led a National Action to determine the impact on soils of lead emitted by industry
In application of the European Council Directive 96/61/EC concerning Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), the French Ministerial Order
of December 24, 2002 requires that owners of Classified Installations declare, once a year, the amounts of pollutants they emit to the air, water and soil, and
waste they produce. The declaration can be done online at http://www.declarationpollution.ecologie ...
The information in the declaration is available to the public at: http://www.pollutionsindustrielles.ecolo ...
The Circular of October 25, 2004 concerning Classified Installations and the National Health and Environment Plan gives guidelines for the inspection
of Classified Installations in order to:
•encourage the involvement of the entire Inspectorate in issues related to chronic risks
•give priority to actions that reduce environmental impact
The circular informs Prefects about future trends in French methodological guidelines for contaminated sites and soil. The French approach has been confirmed:
it is based on risk assessment and management and on management as a function of site use. The notified actions must fit into a strategy framework of management
that results in the monitoring or mitigation of the site's impact on the environment and take into account the actual use of the site. It also emphasizes the importance
of security measures and easement.
As the number of organic compounds used or produced by industry is enormous, a systematic search for all soil pollutants would be a disproportionate task.
The European Directive 76/464 therefore recommends looking for a list of priority substances. Most of these are listed according to their physical and chemical
properties such as volatility, or the presence of specific functions (halogen, aromatic, etc.). Others were listed according to their use: pesticides, detergents,