IT-2 :: Contamination of water, soil and sediments

The presence of pollutants (identified on the basis of their sources of emission and their quantity and dangerousness) generates significant impacts on the surrounding environment, which can create health and ecological risks (for the human health and the animal and plant world), and affect the cultural heritage and the landscape. The research development on these issues is needed in order to prevent and limit the risks for human health, the nature, the heritage and the landscape. Moreover, many NKS raise critical questions (cost, time, legal system, etc.) about remediation procedures, highlighting the high priority of this topic.
Specific research questions:
• Models and tools for the definition of harmonized indicators for contaminated sites management.
The information flow about contaminated sites has to be harmonized in order to optimize the data management, starting from creating a national database of contaminated sites (actually only some regions have it). The data management of contaminated sites has to be optimized Europe-wide and from the local to national level as well.
Why: this topic is very urgent for almost all NKS and it’s especially very helpful for public administration.
Natural capital:
• Study of emerging contaminants (bio-accumulation and bio-dispersion), and study of mixtures and of matrices contamination:
There is also a lack of attention in the law about the presence in environmental matrices of emerging pollutants and their consequences on the environment and people's health. Research should focus on monitoring campaigns to quantify the problem, on procedures to estimate the hazard of the emerging pollutants on the basis of the most relevant exposure pathways, as well as on methodologies to estimate the risks for humans and the environment.
Why: there is a serious lack of knowledge about contaminants properties and distribution in the different environmental matrices and their interaction with health. This gap has to be filled as soon as possible in order to avoid risks for public health.

Land management:
• Sustainable remediation technologies and procedures:
Many NKS raise questions about the remediation procedure: very high cost, waste of time related to bureaucracy and decision makers disagreements, lack of best practices for the impact assessment, weak interaction with research, lack of clarity and uncertainty of the legal system, lack of knowledge about specific soils (notably Italian lands are very diversified).
Why: It’s one of the most cited topic and it’s priority is considered very high by all the NKS. It involves many stakeholders and end users who could benefit from this research.
Net impact:
• Improvement and harmonization of risk assessment and management tools:
Human health and ecological risk assessment for polluted sites is required by many Italian laws, but there is still the need for the validation and integration of updated environmental fate and transport models and exposure models within the available tools which have been developed to properly apply the methodological approach scheduled by the law.
Why: NKS have different opinion about the actual needs of research on this topic, but for some of them it is very relevant.