NICOLE E-News May 2016

NICOLE’s 20th birthday

NICOLE was established in 1996 as a concerted action under the 4th Framework Programme of the European Community. In 1999, due to strong support and a convergence of shared interests, it became self-supporting and fully financed by the contributions of its members. This year we will celebrate NICOLE’s 20th birthday. 

On behalf of the Steering Group and the whole network, I would like to invite you to join NICOLE’s 20th anniversary celebration workshop.  Please reserve space in your agenda on 2,3, and 4 November 2016. 

The workshop will take place at previously used coal gas plant in Amsterdam – The Western Gas Factory (WesterGasFabriek). The location has a historical touch; in the late 19th century, gas was extracted from coal here in order to be used as an energy supply for the city. We can all imagine what kind of pollution it left behind after it served its purpose. The city of Amsterdam decided to remediate the site, in a way which preserved its original state and then gave it a new function as a park and event venue. Having the opportunity to hold our workshop at this historical site is timely, as it is a symbol of re-inventing and adapting to the times. We are also facing a phase of transformation in the business of soil and groundwater remediation.

“I have to change to stay the same” Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)
We are in the business of soil and groundwater remediation, and are also facing a phase of transformation.  
For this special workshop, along with the Steering Group, we have included all the chairs of each working group to contribute as the Organisation Committee (OC), with Laurent Bakker appointed as the chair for of the OC. 

Through this newsletter, we have asked our NICOLE members to share with us some thoughts on the development of our field of business – to look back and to look forward. If you have any suggestions please do not hesitate to contact the NICOLE secretariat.

Message from Chair NICOLE – The last 20 years

Dear NICOLE Members,
Although the recent sad events in Brussels and Paris are in our minds, I invite you all to take a moment to look forward to the celebration of NICOLE’s 20th anniversary. From the beginnings under the umbrella of the 4th Framework Program of the European Community, NICOLE became self-supporting in 1999; and financially independent due to the strong support and a convergence of shared interests from industrial companies, environmental consultants and the academic world.
Looking back at these past 20 years, one can not deny that NICOLE’s track record is really impressive. We have organized over 30 workshops and technical meetings in many European countries. The topics have evolved over the years, reflecting trends in research progress and market evolutions, in which NICOLE was often at the forefront in continuously promoting risk based and sustainable land management. While the technical aspects of contaminated land management were most often the subject of the workshops, financial, regulatory and liability/legal issues were certainly not forgotten.
We have published several highly appreciated position papers and publications,  and built excellent relationships with other networks and organisations, such as the Common Forum and the European Commission. And last but not least, the NICOLE concept was copied in other parts of the world, such as Brazil, South Africa, China.
In a nutshell, we did it !
While other environmental challenges, such as climate change, product safety, energy efficiency and circular economy may currently be more at the forefront of the environmental and sustainability agenda, contaminated land management has never disappeared from the radar of industry, which is reflected by the solid and stable membership of NICOLE.
Finally, the Steering Group feels that the time is ready to change the name of NICOLE, reflecting a widening agenda of  the membership.  However, given the profile, recognition, and heritage of NICOLE, the acronym will remain the same. The new name will be disclosed at our 20st anniversary celebration in Amsterdam in November this year.
I would like to very sincerely thank all those who in the past and still today have and are contributing to what NICOLE is : a very solid and well respected network that delivers high quality when it comes to contaminated land management. We should all be very proud of that achievement !
I hope to see you all in Amsterdam !
Yours sincerely,
Lucia Buvé

Pollution Prevention Manager at Umicore EHS 
Chair of Network for Industrially Contaminated Land in Europe (NICOLE)


Why do we remediate? A long-time member of NICOLE Marianne Wilton- Blom (Ramboll Environ)

Our chairman in this e-newsletter commemorated NICOLE and our 20th anniversary this year.  I will own up to having been active in the consulting field all this time, even engaged in NICOLE for most of the 20 years.  Reflecting back 20 years (1996), approaches to remediation in dig and dump, pump and treat etc still prevailed. Flashing forward from 1996 however, we soon started applying emerging techniques (using a variety of substances we added) for the enhancement of in-situ dechlorination and other attenuation processes; and debating the advantage of civil-engineering oriented funnel and gate approaches vs easily adaptable systems employing, in essence, wells, injection points etc. 

Why did we remediate?  There were a variety of drivers – there were emergent regulations (in some European countries) during the 1990s. However these were in the process of evolution, and the direction these would further take was not always clear.  Whether or not dedicated contaminated land regulations were in place, the uncertainty of a problem – the (perceived or actual) risk it presented to business – was often a driver:  better to address the potential liability than to leave it in place, particularly if the issue had potential to become exponentially worse if left unattended.  If transaction of a business or of land came into play, it was sometimes the agreements reached between sellers and buyers that determined the course of remediation action.  Aside from the technical (and perhaps societal / reputational) resolution of a contamination issue, addressing the problem also helped companies remove, prevent, or accurately provision the matters in their accounts.

This article was written by Marianne Wilton of Ramboll Environ based on her experience; however thoughts expressed, suggested views and/or content in any other sense are not necessarily those of NICOLE or of  Marianne’s (past, present, or future) employers.

The above constitutes an essay of free-flow thoughts based on experience in a variety of remediation situations.   Thoughts and apparent examples presented are conceptual and not specific to any real-life cases. References to regulations similarly constitute a sharing of thoughts on policy / philosophy, and are not intended as an accurate presentation of regulatory status in any one specific country.

To read the full article from Marianne Wilton, please click here.



Paper: toxic arsenic exposure from Cornish private water supplies

Continue our last workshop discussion in Manchester June 2015, Prof. David Polya would like to raise our attention on the following paper:

«It is widely appreciated that toxic arsenic in well water is a devastating environmental health issue overseas in developing countries such as Bangladesh. However, a PhD student from The University of Manchester, together with colleagues from the British Geological Survey, has discovered high exposure to the chemical from private water supplies in the UK.»

For more information, please visit the website on the paper, or download the paper directly by clicking here. If you remain with any other questions, please feel free to contact Joe Paxton (+44 (0)7823 537 670).


ISCAS 2016

22 – 25 May 2016, Sheraton Hotel in Montréal, Québec, Canada

If you would like to find more information about this event, please visit the website.
NICOLE Spring Workshop 2016

15 – 17 June 2016, Vienna, Austria

The main subject of the workshop will be ‘Turning failure into success –  What can we learn when remediation does not go as planned?’. 

For more information , please find enclosed programs for the 1st day and the 2nd/3rd day.

Contaminated Sites 2016

12 – 13 September 2016, Hotel Bôrik in Bratislava, Slovak Republic

For more information, please take a look at the enclosed invitation.
10th International Seminar on Remediation and Revitalization of Contaminated Sites 2016

28 – 30 September 2016, São Paulo, Brazil

The Seminar brings together national and international experts, members of the public and private sector to discuss technologies, concepts of remediation, management brownfields and revitalization of contaminated sites.
Contamination Expo Series 2016

12 – 13 October 2016, ExCeL London, United Kingdom

The contamination Expo Series 2016 is the UK’s leading event for land contamination professionals to find innovative solutions and technology. 

For more information , please visit their website.

NICOLE Fall Workshop 2016

 2- 4 November 2016, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Workshop theme: Looking back, at the Future 

More information will be announced soon.

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