Title: Report of the NICOLE Workshop 14-15 November 2001: Information and communication technologies for sustainable land management / monitored natural attenuation 
Resource Type: web links 
Availability: Bardos, R.P. (2002) Report of the NICOLE Workshop 14-15 November 2001: Information and communication technologies for sustainable land management / monitored natural attenuation, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Land Contamination & Reclamation 10 (1) 33-59, http://www.nicole.org 
Producers or distributor NICOLE 
Author / Producer Type: Professional / trade / industry associations, institutes or networks 
Web link for product information: http://www.nicole.org  
EUGRIS Keyword(s): Contaminated land-->Information management systems-->Data storage
Contaminated land-->Information management systems-->Geographical information systems
Contaminated land-->Information management systems-->Information management systems overview
Contaminated land-->Information management systems-->Predictive modelling
Contaminated land-->Remediation options-->MNA
Contaminated land-->Risk management-->Selection of remediation options
Contaminated land-->Wider impacts / sustainability-->Social
 
Long description: Information communication technologies

Information communication technologies are a valuable tool for sustainable land management. The workshop heard several presentations from developers and NICOLE industry members, underlining the great interest in these technologies in the contaminated land sector. It is important to understand the value of different levels of information. Basic data and individual points of information, no matter how voluminous, provide little assistance to decision makers. This information is in a way static, it has been reported and is historical in context. The information, or knowledge, of greatest value to decision makers is the interpretation of the static information and how it changes over time. A decision maker needs a dynamic understanding of the system in question, and the ability to make reliable predictions about its likely behaviour in the future. Furthermore, this interpretation has to be provided in a way that is meaningful to its recipients. The interpretation process adds expertise. However, it needs to be cognisant of whom the recipient is, and about what the recipient wants to know.

An important consideration in handling what can be very sensitive interpretations about environmental quality, is how to communicate the notions of risk and uncertainty. It can be beneficial to communicate what is known of possible risks, even worst case scenarios, because it reduces the recipients’ uncertainty about what might happen.

The ICT session heard of impressive results from the use of GIS to render enormous volumes of data and information both accessible and interpretable. For example, the Port of Rotterdam’s SOQUAMAS system consolidates data collected over the past ten years for more than 700 sites. If the hard copy reports were stacked one of top of each other, they would reach a height of 90 metres! GIS can be used to provide a quick snapshot of current site problems for a variety of stakeholders, including nonspecialists, and assists specialists in conceptualising sites and determining pollutant linkages. The from Sweden GISsa system was an example of the linkage of a GIS to cost optimisation, another important application. A presentation from ICI and Komex demonstrated the value of GIS in developing site conceptual models, data management and explaining contaminated land management issues to decision-makers. The SENSPOL network highlighted a number of emerging and near market applications of sensor technologies to contaminated land investigation. However, faster progress could be made if greater financial support for the commercialisation of these technologies could be made available.

The ICT session also considered the use of “fuzzy” logic for optimising site sampling strategies, and the use of sensors for rapid and low cost site monitoring. Many NICOLE members see great scope for these techniques for increasing the value for money of site investigation projects, although both techniques are still in their infancy and have some technical question marks about them as yet.

Monitored Natural Attenuation

NICOLE has invested heavily over the past five years in helping establish a firm science base for the use of MNA in contaminated site management, and transferring knowledge about MNA to the contaminated land community in Europe. This collaborative event between NICOLE and NNAGS was judged to be a great success with 130 delegates registered. MNA has a large part to play in the solution for contaminated sites, often in conjunction with other source control/management techniques

In the overall context of risk-based land management (RBLM - defined on page 35), adopting MNA as a whole or part remedial solution has attractions for:
* economic / cost benefit reasons;
* sustainability reasons;
* minimal disruption; and
* reducing on-going pollution.

The key points that emerged from this session were that:

* Just like all other remedial approaches, MNA is not a “magic dust” which can be easily applied as an instant cure. NA is both part of risk assessment, and part of risk reduction. When NA processes are understood, they can be included in risk assessments of sites. MNA can often be part of a solution, used in conjunction with more invasive techniques.

* There is plenty of science in NA, and research issues remain. However a lot is known, and processes at many sites can be evaluated on the basis of current knowledge, provided that good field data is collected and qualified scientists used to interpret it. For all but the standard cases such as petrol stations, site specific interpretations are still needed.
 
Link to Project(s): NICOLE Network for Industrially Contaminated Land In Europe
 
Link to Organisation(s): NICOLE Network for Industrially Contaminated Land in Europe
 
Submitted By: Paul Bardos WhoDoesWhat?      Last update: 10/10/2006