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APPLICERA: Applicable site-specific environmental risk assessment of contaminated soils

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Magnus Engwall

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APPLICERA is initiated by researchers and consultants with decades of experience from risk assessment and management of contaminated soils in Sweden. The aim is to develop an applicable site-specific methodology for environmental risk assessment (ERA) to protect the soil environment. Current national ERA tools suffer from a limited understanding on how contaminants affect soil ecosystems and functions, frequently leading to expensive ´dig-and-dump´, where all soil masses with levels above guideline values is removed, but with largely unknown benefits for the soil ecosystem. We will characterize soil samples representing a range of contamination levels using a battery of previously tested and new indicators including microbial genomics, and establish explicit connections between indicators and relevant soil functions. This will bridge the knowledge gap between the goal for protecting the soil environment and the methods used for ERA. Scenarios for the contaminated sites will be compared in cost-benefit analyses (CBA) and uncertainty analyses to make direct connections between benefits for the soil functions and cost for remedial actions. APPLICERA will lead to a more sustainable decision making process, which will help the society to achieve the goal of finalized remediation by 2050. A final deliverable of the project will be a guidance document to stakeholders for selecting methodology for site-specific ERA.

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