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Ecological Risk Assessment at Contaminated Sites

Nationally and internationally, soil contamination requiring remediation is a major challenge of concern. It has been estimated by The European Environment Agency that approximately 250,000 sites in the EEA member countries require some kind of action.

Ecological Risk Assessment of contaminated land always promotes lively dialogue amongst soil scientists, ecotoxicologists, regulators and local authorities. On the one hand, it seems very obvious and simple, but at the same time difficult to simplify and predict in detail and may, hence, be neglected and circumvented.

Via the European Framework R&D project – LIBERATION - the Section of Soil Fauna Ecology and Ecotoxicology published a Decision Support System (DSS) for evaluating ecological risk at contaminated sites. This DSS is not a comprehensive “all-you-need-to-have” document for managing risk of contaminated land, as it focuses primarily on supporting decisions made when assessing risk to the terrestrial environment. The main objectives of the DSS are to:

  • Present and describe the basic structure of a decision support system (DSS) for assessing site specific risk from contaminated land to ecosystems.
  • List, review and provide further references for useful tools for site specific risk assessment with special attention to bioavailability.
  • Present a basic flow chart for assisting in the selection of risk assessment tools.
  • Present and recommend ways to weigh, scale and use the results of the tests in a DSS.

A full pdf-version of the book can be downloaded here.

The Section of Soil Fauna Ecology and Ecotoxicology controls and maintain a copper-contaminated demonstration site located in Hygum in the south of Jutland, Denmark. Read more.


John Jensen

Deputy Head of Department, Senior Researcher


Soil Fauna Ecology and Ecotoxicology
Aarhus Universitet
Institut for Bioscience
Vejlsøvej 25
8600 Silkeborg