Knowledge generation to develop new more sustainable alternatives and using new technologies to treat and clean-up contaminated soil was the main objective of the "New Technologies for the Remediation of Contaminated Land: Nanotechnology in Contaminated Land" seminar, which was held at the Tecnalia headquarters in Zamudio on 23 November. Over a hundred specialists from Spain, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic shared know-how in this area for the remediation of potentially contaminated sites. The seminar was organised by Ihobe, Environmental Management Company of the Basque Government's Ministry for the Environment, Land Planning, Agriculture and Fisheries, Tecnalia and the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU).
Presided by Fernando Espiga, Director of the Tecnalia Sustainable Development Division; Jaione Lanborena, Director of the Ihobe Environmental Protection and Improvement Management Area; and Ignacio Largo, Director of Corporate Relations at the University of the Basque Country UPV-EHU, the event attracted specialists from different parts of Spain and even from leading European countries such as the Netherlands, Austria or the Czech Republic.
The delegates met with representatives of the Basque Government, Bizkaia Provincial Council, Public Companies such as Sprilur, local authorities including Barakaldo and Trápaga local councils, Technological Centres such as Neiker, Gaiker and Tecnalia, research centres and representatives of the universities of the Basque Country, of Oviedo and of Madrid, along with people representing consultants, developers and construction companies.
During the first introductory part of the session, Wim Plaisier, the internationally renowned consultant from ARCADIS, outlined cases of contaminated soil remediation using innovative treatment technologies applied in countries such as the Netherlands or the United States of America. New trends in European soil remediation policy were also showcased by Dietmar Müller from the Austrian Environmental Agency and the Basque Government's Department for the Environment, in a paper given by Ana Alzola from Ihobe, considered the drive to foster new technologies in soil remediation in recent years. The University of the Basque Country unveiled the research results being obtained in the development of the Nanotechnology technology that recovers contaminated soil based on the application of microscopic iron particles in the medium.
During the second part of the seminar, working groups discussed the advantages and barriers in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country in terms of developing technologies to treat contaminated land. They also considered the need to continue in this line, as a viable alternative to excavating and landfill that is the current procedure in the case of the majority of the contaminated soil detected.
In the Basque Autonomous Community, there are currently over 12,400 potentially contaminated sites that occupy a surface area of usable land, which is equivalent to over 9,000 hectares of land, in other words, around 9,000 professional football pitches. That situation means that progress is necessary in the search for new alternatives to solve the environmental problems arising from those sites. Holding technical seminars of this type fosters knowledge generation, which is needed to find solutions applicable to our area of influence. The papers from the seminar will be published on the websites of the organisers (www.ihobe.net, www.tecnalia.com y www.ehu.es).
Dec 01, 2011.