CASE STUDY: Soil
remediation programme (The Finnish Petroleum Industry's Programme SOILI
to remediate oil polluted decomissioned serice station sites)
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SECTOR: Waste COUNTRY:
The Soili-programme is a programme for the remediation of sites which have
been used for the retail sale of petroleum products. The programme will remediate
soil that was polluted by oil from the service station or other commercial outlet
activities that took place on these sites. The programme is based on an agreement
between the Finnish Oil and Gas Federation (FOGF), the Ministry of the Environment,
the Association of Finnish Local Authorities and the oil companies. The agreement
was made from oil industry's initiative in 1996 and the programme was started
up in 1997. The practical implementation of the programme is the responsibility
of the Oil Industry Service Centre Ltd, a company owned by the FOGF. The programme
is carried out in co-operation with the authorities.
The nation-wide programme offers
holders of former service station sites an opportunity to solve an otherwise
difficult environmental problem. The remediated sites can be taken in other
use after the remediation, for example for residential use. The target is to
remediate several hundred former service station sites and remove the possible
risk to the environment and health. The programme is a first voluntary industry
sector wide programme of this nature in Finland.
The project is funded mainly by oil companies or retail chains having
activities in Finland as well as the Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (OPCF),
operating in connection with the Ministry of the Environment. OPCF is a national
government fund to which oil companies pay a fee levied according to their oil
imports to Finland. The main aim of the fund is to act as an administrative
secondary compensation fund in oil pollution damage as well as to sustain adequate
oil pollution combating equipment and preparedness in Finland.
When handling the single remediation project the programme uses from beginning
to end a general project managing methodology to investigate and remediate the
possibly contaminated site. The methodology comprises all phases from a historical
investigation and a schedule for ground survey through soil remediation works
to the final report and approval by the regional environment authorities.
- The applicant will fill in
the application form to the programme.
- The board of the programme
and the OPCF will approve the application to the programme.
- The programme will do a site
investigation to clear up the contamination and need for the remediation.
- The programme takes care
of the permit procedure in the regional environment center. The authority will
approve the remediation plan.
- The remediation work is
done in the programme's supervision.
duration of the work can vary from couple of weeks to several months depending
on the chosen remediation method.
is a variation of remediation methods in use but mainly the oil contaminated
soil is excavated and replaced with clean soil. The contaminated soil is transported
for treatment to various authorised treatment facilities maintained at private
or municipal waste treatment plants. The most common way is to treat the mildly
contaminated soil biologically in open compost stacks. Also closed and aerated
composting or certain composting devices are in use especially when cleaning
the heavily contaminated soil. In these cases also the thermal treatment and
the washing of the excavated mass (incineration in a stationary or mobile plant)
has been used.
in-situ technology is mainly used when the soil is heavily contaminated
with lighter petroleum fractions as gasoline. Then the usual method is the soil
vapour extraction containing the treatment of the light hydrocarbons for example
with activated carbon filter or catalytic burner. Also a microbiological in-situ
treatment can be used. For on-site and off-site treatments the mobile treatment
devices, both biological and physical, have been developed and commercialised
during the duration of the programme.
APPROVAL OF THE WORK
- The board of the programme
and the regional environment center will approve the remediation work.
- After the remediation project
the remediated site will be delivered back to the applicant.
The programme will give property owners the opportunity to have their property
remediated to its unpolluted condition, enabling it to be considered for other
uses. The programme has so far progressed according to plans. The number of
applications was c. 300 towards the end of the year 2001 and the application
period will continue up to the end of the year 2005.
Basic investigations including risk
assessment have been made on about 200 sites and more than 140 sites have already
progressed into remediation phase, of which 113 projects were already completed
before the end of the year 2001.
By a framework agreement between the oil industry and the public sector
the administration has also committed itself to contribute to the programme
by improving its own working methods, i.e. improving permit procedures, and
by having an effect on the regional studies of possibly contaminated old service
The quality standard of the programme is high. The programme is also partly
public by its nature and managed in close co-operation with the authorities.
The media follows also closely the work and success of the programme. The participating
companies can benefit the high quality standard usually without the fear of
need to go back to the site after the process has been finalised in the programme.
The remediation targets set by the permitting authorities (regional environment
centers) based on a Ministry of the Environment Guideline proposal have been
reached in most completed projects. When the strict targets have not been fully
met the programme has presented a risk assessment on the possible effects of
the residual contamination. Benchmarking to other countries is difficult because
corresponding programmes are not general elsewhere but in the Nordic countries.
Also the Nordic soil remediation programmes differ from each other. The legislation
and local circumstances are also different in each country what influences the
The 'Soili' programme can be regarded as an oil industry's response to requirements
of safeguarding the valuable ground water resources. The programme provides
also means to prevent the creation of judicial problems in advance because of
lacking legislation concerning so called old soil contamination. The prevailing
legislation cannot be applied to those parties who once owned a site and operated
there in due form in the circumstances as they then were but have been off already
The programme will go on still
years. Although the programme was first established a cost-effective project
management programme with no R & D duties but utilise commercialised soil treatment
services, the programme has had influence also in R & D activities. It has also
changed its stand in this respect and gives its support to undertakings developing
new technology whenever possible, however, without bearing the development risk.
Most of the experience can probably be utilised in other countries. The
oil industry and especially the service station concept is so homogeneous that
the application would be easier within the oil sector than other industrial
The Soili-programme is unique - the programme in this form can work only
in Finland. The idea and the concept is however transferable. The original concept
is adapted from Denmark to Finland and it has been made suitable for the Finnish
circumstances and society. One year later the Swedish oil sector started its
IMPACT ON SUSTAINABILITY AREAS
Environmental - High
Social - Medium
Economical - Medium
Institutional - High
PROJECT CONTACT: Managing Director,
Mr Pekka Huttula, Oil Industry Service Centre Ltd, P.O.Box 1405, FIN-00101 HELSINKI,
firstname.lastname@example.org Legal Adviser, Ms Johanna Routio, email@example.com.
Project manager, Mr Seppo Nikunen, firstname.lastname@example.org