BiOSOIL Demonstrating the feasibility of biological methods for soil reclamation in the Basque Country

Country: Spain
Start Date:   1/11/2004         Duration: 36 months         Project Type: Demonstration
Contract Number: ENV/ES/000263
Organisation Type:  EC Project
Contaminated land-->Remediation options-->Ex situ treatment technologies
Project objectives:
The main objective of BIOSOIL project is to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of Compost Bioremediation technology for the reclamation 
of polluted soils with different characteristics and/or different types of organic pollutants. Specific objectives are to: 1) Increase the intrinsic biodegradative capacity of a contaminated soil with the addition of a specifically made compost that will act as a degradative
microbial bioaugmented inoculum and will improve soil structural and nutritional characteristics, accelerating therefore the bioremediation process.
2) Provide new technologies of high efficiency and minimal environmental impact for the reclamation of contaminated soils. 3) Facilitate a sustainable management of contaminated soils without the necessity of their dumping in landfills, which involves social or environmental
threatens and risks for human health, groundwater and ecosystems. 4) Increase the availability of clean urban soil for the re-planning of brownfields. 5) Promote environmental initiatives that will contribute to the implementation, updating and development of Community Environment policy and to Sustainable
Development in the European Community. 6) Create direct and indirect employment in activities related to the management of contaminated soils and the introduction of new socio-economic activities
in reclamated emplacements. 7) Introduce innovation and quality in the management model of contaminated soils.
Project Summary:
Rehabilitation of urban brownfield areas is a priority in the Basque Country where many brownfield sites still exist due to the industrial past of most cities. 
Rehabilitation helps facilitate land-use planning and integrated socio-economic developments, as well as reducing pressure on the use of greenfield sites.
However, past industrial activities in derelict urban sites have left serious problems in the form of polluted soils that inhibit rehabilitation and development
potential. This LIFE project aimed to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of compost-based bioremediation technology as a process for reclaiming
polluted brownfield sites. Expected benefits included: accelerated decontamination processes; accelerated rehabilitation of brownfield sites; integration
of environmental considerations into urban planning; and integration of new socio-economic activities within sustainable development strategies for
Basque urban areas.
Achieved Objectives:
Work carried out by the project confirmed the effectiveness of adding enriched compost to brownfield soils as a useful technique for stimulating microbial 
growth. Mineral oil concentration was decreased by up to 88%, significantly improving soil toxicity by the end of the project period. Degradation rates of
contaminants were also improved and optimum conditions allowed time savings of 53%, compared to conventional bioremediation methods. Soil organic contamination
levels were lowered to below 400 ppm within a six month period using the new treatment method. This represents a considerable development on traditional systems
that normally require two years to achieve an equivalent reduction. These direct environmental results from the LIFE project were augmented by additional advantages compared to standard approaches to brownfield remediation
such as: avoiding pollution to ground water; limiting negative effects on human health; lowering energy demands; and eliminating contaminated land being
dumped in landfills (with the subsequent benefits on water, soil, and air resources).
Product Descriptions:
A guide was developed describing the Best Available Technologies (BATs) for remediation of contaminated soils, as well as a tool to select the most suitable 
BAT, depending on the type of contaminant present in each soil. This tool will assist local, national and EU policy-making as well as legislation preparation
and decision making processes. The economic feasibility and future potential for the new approach were confirmed through detailed and concrete figures highlighting a low application
cost and an overall high cost-effectiveness of the technology. Application costs have been estimated at 0.023 €/kg of soil, which is some 94% lower than the
cost of incineration and 80% lower than costs for standard landfill remediation techniques.
Additional Information:

Project Resources:
Funding Programme(s): 
LIFE Environment
Link to Organisations:
Submitted by: EUGRIS Team Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?  01/01/2009 14:00:00
Updated by: EUGRIS Team Professor Paul Bardos  Who does what?  24/05/2010 10:41:00