Management of contaminated sites is associated with high costs to problem owners and society. For sound use of society´s limited resources, priority should be given to alternatives that are considered best with respect to agreed and well-defined criteria. A key criterion in environmental decision-making is sustainable development. However, procedures for explicitly evaluating sustainability of remediation alternative are lacking. Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) has repeatedly been suggested for evaluating sustainability but practical applications for remediation projects are still rare. An important reason is limited knowledge on how to evaluate ecological effects of remediation. Ecological effects may be addressed using the concept of soil function (SF), e.g. the soils´ ability to provide services and goods. The European Commission has recognized SF as crucial for human and ecosystem survival. The overall objective of SNOWMAN-MCA is to develop a procedure for MCA that can be practically applied for sustainability appraisal of remediation alternatives. Specific goals are to: (1) incorporate effects on soil system functions for evaluating ecological sustainability, and (2) prepare a prototype for MCA for identifying sustainable remediation alternatives.
The SNOWMAN-MCA project will be based on studies of a few representative polluted sites and the impact of the remediation strategies on soil services will be assessed with respect to identified sustainability criteria and used as input in the MCA. The analysis will also include a wider perspective, putting the results of the remediation projects in relation to baseline levels and fate of contaminants on a regional and global scale.
The project will be carried out in cooperation between the Soil remediation Center North (MCN) at Umeċ University, Sweden, the Forum for Risk Investigation and Soil Treatment (FRIST) at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt), Austria.
We hope that SNOWMAN-MCA may provide valuable input in future strategic research activities within the European Union on how to better incorporate soil functions in sustainability appraisal at contaminated sites.
Prof M. Tysklind, project leader
Magnus Bergknut, project coordinator