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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Assessing costs and benefits of improved soil quality management in remediation projects: A study of an urban site contaminated with PAH and metals

Volchko, Yevheniya; Kleja, Dan Berggren; Back, Par-Erik; Tiberg, Charlotta; Enell, Anja; Larsson, Maria; Jones, Christopher M.; Taylor, Astrid; Viketoft, Maria; Aberg, Annika; Dahlberg, Anna-Karin; Weiss, Jana; Wiberg, Karin; Rosen, Lars


Contaminants in the soil may threaten soil functions (SFs) and, in turn, hinder the delivery of ecosystem services (ES). A framework for ecological risk assessments (ERAs) within the APPLICERA - APPLICable site-specific Environmental Risk Assessment research project promotes assessments that consider other soil quality parameters than only contaminant concentrations. The developed framework is: (i) able to differentiate the effects of contamination on SFs from the effects of other soil qualities essential for soil biota; and (ii) provides a robust basis for improved soil quality management in remediation projects. This study evaluates the socio-economic consequences of remediation alternatives stemming from a Tier 1 ERA that focusses on total contaminant concentrations and soil quality standards and a detailed, site-specific Tier 3 Triad approach that is based on the APPLICERA framework. The present study demonstrates how Tier 1 and Tier 3 ERAs differ in terms of the socioeconomic consequences of their remediation actions, as well as presents a novel method for the semi-quantitative assessment of on-site ES. Although the presented Tier 3 ERA is more expensive and time-consuming than the more traditional Tier 1 ERA approach, it has the potential to lower the costs of remediation actions, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, reduce other environmental impacts, and minimise socio-economic losses. Furthermore, the remediation actions stemming from the Tier 3 ERA were predicted to exert far less negative ES effects than the actions proposed based on the results of the Tier 1 ERA. (C) 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Contaminated sites; Soil quality; Ecological risk assessment; Remediation; Cost-benefit analysis; Ecosystem services

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2020, Volume: 707, article number: 135582