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Sci Total Environ. 2012 Jun 15;427-428:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.02.078. Epub 2012 May 9.

State of the art of contaminated site management in The Netherlands: policy framework and risk assessment tools.

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National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), PO Box 1, 3720 BA, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


This paper presents the policy framework of contaminated site management in The Netherlands and the corresponding risk assessment tools, including innovations that have taken place since an overview was published in 1999. According to the Dutch Soil Protection Act assessment framework, soils are subdivided into three quality classes: clean, slightly contaminated and seriously contaminated. Historic cases of slightly contaminated soils are managed in a sustainable way by re-use of soil material within a region on the basis of risk-based and land use specific Maximal Values and Background Values. In case of serious soil contamination remediation is in principle necessary and the urgency of remediation has to be determined based on site-specific risks for human health, the ecosystem and groundwater. The major risk assessment tools in The Netherlands are the CSOIL exposure model (human health risks and food safety), Species Sensitivity Distributions and the Soil Quality Triad (ecological risks), along with a procedure to assess the risks due to contaminant spreading to and in the groundwater. Following the principle 'simple if possible, complex when necessary', tiered approaches are used. Contaminated site practices are supported with web-based decision support systems.

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