SoilCAM: Soil contamination: Advanced integrated characterisation and time-lapse monitoring

Helen K. French, Sjoerd E.A.T.M. Van Der Zee, Max Meju

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The SoilCAM project is aimed at improving current methods for monitoring contaminant distribution and biodegradation in the subsurface. Currently proven methods, based on invasive sampling of soil, soil water and gaseous phase, are unable to provide sufficiently accurate data with high enough resolution, resulting in inability to assess bioremediation progress and quantification of the processes involved in such bioremediation at field sites. Consequently, present assessment strategies to decide on optimal remediation approach, including design of monitoring systems, and evaluation of degradation progress, are severely flawed by uncertainty. Geophysical time-lapse measurements in combination with novel ground truthing methods give the possibility to determine contamination levels and their spatial spreading in a heterogeneous environment. Geophysical methods of data acquisition alone are presently unable to provide absolute levels of biodegradable contamination concentrations. We aim to test and develop fundamental constitutive relations between soil physical and degradation activity parameters and geophysically measurable parameters. Despite current improvements, there is a strong need to test these theories in practical field situations. The SoilCAM project is dedicated to improving both site contamination assessment and the monitoring of bioremediation processes, and changes in soil environmental conditions. We suggest combining improved conventional soil monitoring techniques with state-of-the-art geophysical approaches and modelling. Two European sites with mobile contaminants in a highly permeable subsurface are central in the project. Focus on practical field situations and strong communication with stake-holders and SMEs will ensure high relevance for society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalReviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradation
  • Crude oil
  • De-icing chemicals
  • Geophysics
  • Lysimeter
  • Modelling

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