General Cleanup Technology

Availability of pollutants in contaminated land as evaluation criterion in space management

The collaborative project’s aim is to improve space management by developing accurate evaluation criteria for contaminated land. The approach pursued is to expand the principle of total pollutant contents as specified in the German soil protection and pollution ordinance (BBodSchV) by pollutant interrelations with soil matrix and soil solution.


The high expense of decontaminating polluted land frequently prevents brownfields from being put to use, thereby leading space being wasted.

The project’s aim was to develop a method for evaluation of contaminated spaces that differs from the BBodSchV. The approach here is to make bioavailability of pollutants, including their interrelations with the soil matrix, the primary evaluation criterion rather than the overall pollutant contents.

To this end, the potential harm of contaminated soils on four model pieces of land were evaluated by means of elution tests and subsequent ecotoxicological examinations. The results were used to infer statements on the risk to the groundwater and on the retention capacity. They were further compared with the results of the conventional procedure according to BBodSchV (which excludes bioavailability).


  • The leachates’ PAH concentrations exceed the BBodSchV limit value. However, the pollutants displayed negative, ecotoxic impact neither in the fluorescent bacteria test nor in the algae test. Mobilisation was almost impossible to discern in the samples polluted with petroleum-derived hydrocarbons.
  • All examinations based on bioavailability determine a significantly lower hazard potential than indicated by the total pollutant contents.
  • The findings were collated into an action manual which lists the boundary conditions to be observed and explains how to conduct hazard potential estimation and pollution assessment in accordance with the integrated availability approach. A description of the required methods and evaluation concepts as well as the requirements to be met during sampling and quality assurance was drafted.

More Project Information

Project title: Verbundprojekt: Teilvorhaben 1: Bewertung von Schadstoffen im Flächenrecycling und nachhaltigen Flächenmanagement auf der Basis der Verfügbarkeit /Bioverfügbarkeit. Verbundkoordination

Project number: 0330765A

Project period: 2006 - 2010

Project region: Germany (Berlin)

Project contact:


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Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)