The large increment in waste generation and the widespread use of chemical products for years have caused several soil problems at European level. Soil contamination is currently a problem in more than 3 million sites across Europe and it is estimated that 500.000 of them could need short-term corrective actions. The European Union assesses the cost of such restorative measures in the range of billions of euros.
Up to the present the remediation of contaminated soils has focused on the achievement of quality objectives for each type of contamination, regardless the effect such actions might have on soil functionality. Most of these cases are dealt with ex-situ interventions, while the in-situ solutions are not yet widely implemented.
The ex-situ methods rely on cost-intensive engineering works in terms of energy, material and human resources. These ex-situ interventions do not always reach satisfactory results and, what is more important, involve large greenhouse gas emissions, landscape alterations and soil physicochemical properties destructions.
However, the in-situ methods are the best available technologies for several reasons as for example the limits imposed by the land possessor, the immediacy of the execution period or the minimum interactions with the activities developed at the polluted sites. On the other hand, there are environmentally friendly decontamination methods that allow soils remediation using living organisms. These green technologies, based on concepts such as sustainability, restoration and integration processes, despite theirs economic and ecologic advantages is still in their early stages.
BIOXISOIL is an integrative approach which fits into the green technology concept. This project is based on the optimization and combination of physicochemical and biological technics to remediate large surfaces affected by organic contamination. In addition, the biggest potential of BIOXISOIL is its vast applicability, since it can be used to decontaminate heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants, ensuring its extrapolation to other problems and environments.