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Status of local soil contamination in Europe - Progress in the management of contaminated sites in Europe

In this report the findings of a questionnaire commissioned by the European Commission Joint Research Centre for the revision of the Indicator "Progress in the management of contaminated sites in Europe" in 2016 are presented. It has been produced with the contribution of data provid­ed by the EIONET National Reference Centres (NRCs) for soil and contributes to the indicator sys­tem of the EEA, notably to the indicator LS003 on contaminated sites.

Soil contamination refers to reduced soil quality due to the presence of harmful substances resulting from human activity. This may harm human health or the environment, or otherwise violate private or public interests. It is often difficult to observe because its effects are frequently limited or mitigated by the natural functions of soils, in particular: storing, degrading or immobilising pollutants.

  • A new report from the JRC finds that over 5,000 new sites are under remediation or risk-reduction measures since 2011.
  • At the same time, prevention and remediation remain a work in progress.
  • The new report estimates that polluting activities potentially took place in 2.8 million sites in the EU.
  • A significant effort is being made by Member States to identify which sites need urgent action and where remediation or risk reduction measures are required.
  • In most countries, the inventory process starts with the establishment of a register of sites where polluting activities have, or may have, taken place.
  • The report finds that there are more than 650k officially registered contaminated sites across Europe.
  • More than 170k sites still to be investigated , 68k are currently under investigation and more than 125k sites need or might need remediation.  while 65 500 sites have already been remediated, or are under aftercare measures.

The status of soil contamination in Europe report is based on a questionnaire the JRC sent to 39 European countries in 2017, of which 29 replied.

Read : Status of local soil contamination in Europe. Ana Payá Pérez and Natalia Rodríguez Eugenio, Status of local soil contamination in Europe: Revision of the indicator “Progress in the management Contaminated Sites in Europe, EUR 29124 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018, ISBN 978-92-79-80072-6, doi:10.2760/093804, JRC107508

soil contamination jrc