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Ecological risk assessment of contaminated soil and sediment - proposals for improvement of the Dutch urgency system

Ecologische risicobeoordeling van verontreinigde (water)bodem - voorstellen ter verbetering van de urgentiesystematiek

Synopsis

In the Netherlands the application of a decision support system to determine the urgency for remediation (hereafter the urgency system) when a site is contaminated above the standards for soil contamination (intervention values combined with criteria for polluted volume and surface area) is advised by the Soil Protection Act. The urgency system is now in function for about 5 years. New technical and scientific insights, bottlenecks in the application of the urgency system, and new soil protection policy are pressing towards reflection and reformulation of the current practice. The aim of this study is to create applicable proposals for site-specific ecological risk assessment possibly to improve the current urgency system, accommodating the current trends. The first proposal is focussed on a central role of the calculation of the toxic pressure per chemical and of the combined toxic pressure of all chemicals together at the site, rather than comparison of concentrations of chemicals with HC50 values or soil quality standards. The second proposal is focussed on elaboration of the assessment with site specific biological information such as the results from bioassay testing and ecological field observations. The combination of three disciplines in a Triad approach (environmental chemistry, bioassay testing, ecological field observations) will improve the reliability of the assessment, because it will efficiently eliminate intrinsic and conceptual uncertainties in assessment techniques.
 

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