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  • The University of Oviedo leads a project on soil remediation technologies, funded by the EU

    July 27, 2012

    A multidisciplinary team consisting of 13 researchers will apply different methods to remove arsenic and heavy metal from contaminated soils

    The Vice-Rector for Research and Campus of International Excellence, Mª Paz Suárez Rendueles; The General Director of Sustainalibity and Climate Change, Paz Orviz; and the Manager of the Cluster of Energy, Environment and Climate Change of the CEI, Enrique Jáimez.

    The University of Oviedo leads an ambitious project on technologies for soil remediation which has just been approved by the European Union and in which the Principalilty of Asturias, through the Regional Ministry of Public Work, Town Planning and Environment, and the Asturian company Sogener participate.

    The Vice-Rector for Research and Campus of International Excellence, Mª Paz Suárez Rendueles; the General Director for Sustainability and Climate Change of the Regional Ministry of Public Works, Town Planning and Environment of the Principality of Asturias, Paz Orviz; the Manager of the Cluster of Energy, Environment and Climate Change of the CEI, Enrique Jáimez, presented the proposal this morning in the Campus of Mieres.

    The project, with an execution time of three years, has a budget of 878,639 euros and it benefits from the direct participation of 13 researchers in different fields at the Asturian academic insitution.

    Under the title Validación de tecnologías innovadoras para la recuperación de suelos contaminados por arsénico y metales pesados (I+DARTS in English), the project is framed within the European Project Life +, within the section of Environment Policy and Governance.

    The Vice-Rector for Research and Campus of International Excellence stated that it is a project with an "important social impact that gives the University the chance of offering its research works to society". Likewise, Suárez Rendueles highlighted the multidisciplinary vias of this initiative and described it as "novel" as "research teams on different technologies and methodologies have been able to join efforts to reach a common goal". Particularly, in this project, work researchers from the academic institution belonging to the Areas of Mining Prospecting and Research, Environment Technology, Plant Physiology, External Ecology and Geodynamics, the last two integrated in the Institute of Natural Resources and Land Management (Idurot).

    For his part, the Asturian Government collaborated with professionals of the Regional Ministry of Public Works, Town Planning and Environment,subject to the Directorate General of Sustainability and Environment, whereas the Asturian business sector is represented by Sogener, a company specialised in Architecture and Building. The General Director of Sustainability and Climate Change assigned positive values to European funding and the institutional collaboration between the University and the regional government, which "shows how, with technical excellence, we are willing to develope and provide novel technologies in the field of environmental recovery of contaminated soils".

    In order to carry out this project, some Asturian locations have been chosen: El Terronal (Mieres), Nitrastur (Langreo) and Olicio (Cangas de Onís) which, due to different activities (industrial landfill, iron and steel industry and mining) show high heavy-metal contamination levels, mercury and arsenic among them. For the manager of the Cluster of Energy, Environment and Climate Change "the fact of having several scenarios where to apply different technologies will offer us varied solutions".

    According to Enrique Jáimez, four remediation technologies will be compared in a plot of the three locations: "the bioremediation, which uses microorganisms in order to clean the area; the phytoremediation, which uses plants to fix heavy metals; the physio-chemical technologies, related to the ground clean-up". They will watch which one is the most effective and will ellaborate a decision protocol to choose the most adecuate technology for any contaminated area in the European Union depending on its characteristics, that is, previous uses and metal concentration. This will allow the Asturian Administration to know the most effective methods to take measures in this subject.

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