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
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.