NICOLE: A renewed look at soil and groundwater management with a special focus on infrastructure

NICOLE Network meeting on 16-18 November 2011Venue: RDM Campus, Heijplaatstraat

Deadline for registration: 31 October 2011, www.nicole.org

Ports, railroads, storage and distribution sites have through the centuries been key economic drivers for growth in Europe. Continued investment is needed for sustained economic health. Not only in ports, but also across the infrastructural works on which our EU societies rely to keep their economies alive. At the same time infrastructural facilities, such as airports, railroad lines, power transmission grids and other utilities companies operate within a complex landscape of environmental regulations, responsibilities and liabilities. More complex than that classically found at industrial sites occupied by a single company.  The objective of this NICOLE workshop is to examine the complex and dynamic arena in which infrastructural works must operate and manage contaminated land challenges. The dynamic situation also invites a renewed look and consideration of responsibility for soil and groundwater quality, land management, and contamination liability. Can we continue to assign and allocate contaminant sources to a single polluter or pollution source? Are land plot boundaries not too static? Can soil, like the air and like water, be viewed to have a mobile and fluid character and can it be managed as such? Already back in the 19th century the legendary ‘Chief Seattle’ raised the famous question: ‘But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land?’

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