IV Conference on Soil Contamination

jornades contaminacio de sols agencia residus de catalunya

The Waste Agency of Catalonia held on October 20 and 21, 2023, the “IV Conference on Soil Contamination” in which ENVIROTECNICS has actively participated.
The conferences were held at the Espai Bital in l’Hospitalet del Llobregat and were attended, during the two days, by more than 200 people from different industrial sectors, engineering and consultancy firms, university research groups and administrations.
This new conference has given continuity to those previously held in 2015, 2017 and 2019 and has allowed to continue advancing among all the agents involved in the main lines of work that had been highlighted as a priority in previous meetings.
The conferences have been structured in 4 thematic blocks:

  1. Bioremediation
  2. Treatment of organic compounds
  3. PFAS
  4. Land management

The following conclusions were reached from the presentations and round tables:


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Block 1. Bioremediation
  •  Bioremediation, as a remediation technique, on its own or in conjunction with other techniques, can achieve desirable levels of decontamination.
  • Phytoremediation with appropriate species can decontaminate sites with surface hydrocarbon (and metal) contamination and generate biomass for biofuel production.
  • Biostimulation of soil microbial populations and bioecopiles with the application of redox gradients can achieve significant reductions of hydrocarbons and metals in the soil.
  • The cleanup time is usually long and is a limiting factor for its use.
  • Microbial electrochemistry as a remediation system applicable for various contaminants and matrices is in its initial phase of use. It may be a technique to be enhanced in the future.
  • Electrochemical techniques are also appropriate for the treatment of contaminated water with high concentrations of metals.
  • Bioremediation using fungi is a viable technique for classical remediation systems due to its low cost, low energy consumption and high efficiency in hydrocarbon degradation.
  • Ecotoxicity in bioremediation processes is a necessary evaluation factor to ensure viability.
BLOCK 2. Treatment of organic compounds
  • Treatment times of organic compounds (DNAPL) are often long and frequently experience rebound effects caused by contaminants stored in low permeability zones. More detailed studies are needed.
  • The combined use of physicochemical and microbiological methods may be adequate to treat these conditions.
  • The technique of isotope analysis makes it possible to monitor the evolution of oxidation reactions in degradation processes.
  • Universities and research centers are working on projects (at different stages of development) aimed at finding new decontamination systems with a low carbon footprint.
Block 3. PFAS
  • It is a family formed by a high number of synthesis compounds, making their knowledge difficult. They are practically ubiquitous, difficult to degrade and at low concentrations can have harmful effects on health and the ecosystem.
  • Their analysis is complex. Currently, about 50 (the most common) are analyzed in Europe. Non-specific parameters (precursors or total fluoride) are also determined.
  •  Enhanced attenuation by adsorption is a sustainable system successfully applied in more than 40 sites.
  •  In the future, new regulations and reference levels will determine the evolution of analytical techniques and treatment systems.

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