Approval of Decree 49/2015 on contaminated soils of Extremadura

Published 09/04/15

As from the 6th of April, Decree 49/2015, of the 30th of March, regulating the legal regime of contaminated soils of Extremadura, by the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Environment and Energy (link in Spanish), with its publication in DOE nº 64 comes into effect.

It is intended to protect the quality of soils in Extremadura by following the provisions of title V of the Law 22/2011 of Waste and Contaminated Soils and Royal Decree 9/2005 which regulates Potentially Contaminating Activities on Soil and the Criteria and Standards for The Declaration of Contaminated Land.

The main aspects of this Decree are described below.

Classification of potentially polluting activities of soil in three categories

In Annex I, potentially polluting activities of the soil are classified in categories, depending on the potential impact on this medium: “A”, “B” and “C” of greater to lower risk of impact, respectively.

Simplified voluntary procedure

The second chapter of the Decree regulates the provision of information to the competent administration, of the owners of potentially polluting activities of the soil through the IPS and develops a simplified voluntary mechanism according to the type of activity:

  • For type A and B: a technical certificate drawn up by an accredited entity (see below), in accordance with the provisions of Annex II.
  • For type C activities: A Declaration of Responsibility (Annex II) signed by the owner of the

The data obtained will be registered in the Soils Quality Inventory of Extremadura.

Procedure for the Declaration and Recovery of Contaminated Land

The Decree contains the technical criteria necessary for the declaration of land as contaminated: conducting analytical research studies (exploratory and detailed) and assessing environmental risks. In the event that there is an unacceptable risk to human health and/or the ecosystems the land will be declared as contaminated and will be subject to a marginal note in the registration of the property, as well as its inscription in the quality inventory of soils of Extremadura.

Remediation procedures include: Drafting a remediation project, executing remediation (follow-up reports and final report), certification of soil quality, controls and follow-up if necessary. All documentation must be submitted to the administration for approval.

The scope of the reports which are to be presented is described in Annex III.

Generic Levels of Reference

Annex IV sets out Generic Reference Levels for heavy metals and other trace elements in soils applicable in Extremadura, differentiating between human health protection for industrial, urban and other uses, and for the protection of Ecosystems.

Additionally, it sets up generic levels for diphenyl and diphenyl oxide in soils for the protection of human health in industrial, urban and other uses.

Inventory of soil quality of Extremadura

The inventory of soil quality in Extremadura is regulated by identifying three scenarios:

  • Soils with potentially contaminating activities.
  • Altered soils.
  • Contaminated soil.

Registration of collaborating entities

The Decree also regulates the requirements to be met by entities conducting the investigation, assessment of environmental risks and recovery of soil quality, and creates a register of collaborating entities (Chapter VI, Second Transitory Disposition and Annex V).

The regulatory text in full can be found  in Spanish here.

Update 2 june 2015. Emgrisa complies with the requirements of a collaborating entity of Extremadura and it has been inscriben in the Register of collaborating entities.

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