Member states are making efforts to establish national decontamination/remediation strategies which are generally very costly. It is therefore crucial for public authorities to be able to identify the most fit-for-purpose and cost-effective innovative solutions for decontamination and remediation.

The POSIDON challenge is to address the lack of public demand driven innovation in the in soil decontamination sector in Europe. This is needed to close the gap between supply and demand for innovative solutions. Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) has the potential to be an effective demand side innovation action par excellence.

According to the European Environment Information and Observation Network for soil (EIONET-SOIL), the number of estimated potential soil contaminated sites is more than 2.5 million , of which about 14 % (340 000 sites) are highly likely to be contaminated, and hence in need of remediation measures. Municipal and industrial wastes contribute most to soil contamination (38%), followed by the industrial/commercial sector (34%). Mineral oil and heavy metals are the main contaminants contributing around 60% to soil contamination. In terms of budget, the management of contaminated sites is estimated to cost around 6 billion Euros (€) annually.

Local soil contamination was estimated at 2.5 million potentially contaminated sites in the EEA-39, of which about 45 % have been identified to date. About one third of an estimated total of 342 000 contaminated sites in the EEA-39 have already been identified and about 15 % of these 342 000 sites have been remediated. Contaminated soil continues to be commonly managed using “traditional” techniques, e.g. excavation and off-site disposal, which accounts for about one third of management practices. In-situ and ex-situ remediation techniques for contaminated soil are applied more or less equally. (Data source: European Environment Agency, May 2014)

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