19 June 2012

COLDREM - Soil remediation in a cold climate

The programme ended in 2003.

Boosting knowledge of soil remediation in a cold climate

Until the mid-1990s, there was a shortage of scientific data on effective soil remediation in Sweden. The COLDREM programme was therefore oriented towards developing new methods and accumulating knowledge in two contaminated areas: the gasworks site at Husarviken in Stockholm and Eka Chemicals’ factory site for the chloralkali industry in Bohuslän. In these areas, spillage and deposition of by-products and sludge have resulted in complicated situations of contamination.

What results has the programme had?

COLDREM contributed to better knowledge of soil remediation in Sweden in the long term, both within and outside universities. It was also able to highlight a series of promising biological, chemical or physical and thermal methods of cleaning contaminated soil, some of which were tested in the field. COLDREM also developed supportive activities in the form of new and reliable chemical analyses.

Who has benefited from the results?

Municipalities, agencies and land owners have benefited from the research results and the courses in which COLDREM’s researchers have taken part. A questionnaire survey in 2003, when the programme ended, sent to all the staff in COLDREM showed that roughly half of the respondents had work duties relating to contaminated soil or its remediation. Of these, 40% were employed outside universities. When the programme ended, the North Sweden Soil Remediation Centre (Marksaneringscentrum Norr, MCN) was set up with the involvement of several COLDREM co-workers. MCN is conducted in close cooperation with companies, municipalities and agencies. In 2001, the national ‘Cleaner Soil’ (Renare mark) network, which has grown to some 800 members today, was started.

‘COLDREM was important for building knowledge about contaminated areas in Sweden. The programme formed a basis for both education and development in the area. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s Sustainable Remediation knowledge programme took up the challenge when COLDREM came to an end.’

Kerstin Jansbo, analyst, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency


Programme period: 1997–2003

Funding: Mistra invested SEK 39 million

Programme host: Umeå University

Program director: Bo Mattiasson, Lund University

Executive committee chair: Thomas Berglin, Eka Chemicals AB

Scope: a total of 91 people, including 27 researchers, took part in COLDREM. Six doctoral students gained their PhDs, and a large number of students also completed their degree projects, within the programme.

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