Study looks at greener land remediation methods

Researchers from Brighton University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering have been awarded funding from the European Union Framework 7 programme to work with an international network of researchers examining less aggressive, more sustainable methods of cleaning up contaminated land.

The GREENLAND project (Gentle Remediation of Trace Element Contaminated Land) involves 18 European research teams and examines the practical application of ’greener’ land clean-up technologies that use the action of plants and benign soil additives to remove or stabilise heavy metals in soils present at former industrial sites.

These techniques, known as gentle remediation options or GRO, potentially offer a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way to treat contaminated land. Their current application across Europe, however, is very variable and despite a number of highly successful trials, wider industrial take-up and on-site use has been relatively limited.

The GREENLAND project seeks to address this and will examine ways in which these methods can be optimised on a large scale at different sites across Europe.

The Brighton team, comprising Profs Andy Cundy, Andrew Church and Sergey Mikhalovsky, is leading the work on appraising current GRO practices and developing guidelines that will help the techniques to be applied on a large scale.

Prof Cundy said: ’Gentle remediation options have great potential in helping us to develop more sustainable management strategies for large former industrial sites and we look forward to working with academic and industry partners in the GREENLAND project to develop and assess these technologies.’