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Soil remediation policy

The purpose of the Soil decree is to remediate contaminated land in Flanders and to prevent new contamination. In order to achieve this objective, the following measures are taken :

  • Attribution of soil certificates. Ever since October 1, 1996, a soil certificate is needed when transferring a piece of land. If the land is registered as contaminated, this is marked on the certificate. If not, the soil certificate is called 'blank'. There is an example of a soil certificate on the right hand side in the list of 'Publicaties'.
  • Follow up of preliminary and descriptive soil investigations. A preliminary soil investigation provides indications on the degree of soil contamination. Further steps depend on the degree of contamination and the time it has been established (new or historical). In the next step, a descriptive soil investigation tries to find out about the dispersion of the contamination and its future evolution. Moreover, the risks of the contamination are evaluated. If the contamination is more established, a soil remediation project must be worked out.
  • Evaluation of soil remediating projects involves verification of the completeness and sustainability of the remediating projects submitted, requesting necessary advice and supervision on the publication of the project, drafting a certificate of conformity or requesting changes/additions.
  • Follow up and control of remediation works in progress. If any safety or control measures are needed after finishing the works, Ovam provides a follow up. At the end, Ovam issues a final report, stating the results of the works.
  • Ovam actively participates in the policy of remediation, financing and development of 'brownfields', e.g. grounds that are contaminated as a consequence of toxmatic industrial activities and which will be given a new destination after remediation. Ovam pro-activily participates in alternative remediating methods as well.

In case the parties involved are unable or refuse to remediate, Ovam has the right to intervene in order to prevent worse. Its main objective is to restore, remediate and/or manage environmental damage. Initially these sites are listed on an official 'soil remediation list', established yearly by the Flemish government.
Moreover, Ovam takes safety measures if soil contamination can cause immediate danger for man or environment and the owner fails to solve the problem.