Soil contamination and remediation

Soil is contaminated by all kinds of human activities involving environmentally hazardous materials such as heavy metals, organic substances and pesticides. In Flanders there are an estimated 85,000 sites (11.2% of the surface area of the region) with an increased risk of soil contamination.

4,108 soil remediations

By the end of 2019, 4,108 soil remediation works had been completed. That is 37% of the estimated number of soil remediation projects that need to be started by 2036.

What do we see?

By the end of 2019, OVAM made available exploratory soil surveys (ESS) for 51% of high-risk Flemish sites. A descriptive soil survey (DSS) had already been carried out for a third of these sites. In the period between 1997 and 2019, a total of 5,443 soil remediation projects (SRP) were set up and declared compliant. During the same period, 4,108 soil remediation works were completed. Compared to 2005, the number of completed soil remediation works has increased considerably. This shows that the Soil Decree is having an effect and that more remediations are being started and completed.

What’s the aim?

OVAM has set the objective to at least start the remediation of all historic soil contamination sites by 2036. In order to achieve this target, the exploratory soil surveys for the 85,000 high-risk sites must be completed by 2028 at the latest.

What does this indicator measure?

This indicator shows the number of contaminated sites per remediation phase. This fits into the broader framework of a circular economy in terms of the space being reused: the remediated land can be reused for various purposes (living, working, nature, recreation, etc.).

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