Decontamination of polluted sites to be completed by 2050

The decontamination of polluted sites in the coming years will remain a problem for Romania. According to the executive’s latest estimates, the solving of this problem will cost us EUR 8 billion, most funds to come from the European Union (EU).

Oil polluted siteThe government approved in mid-August, by decision, the National Strategy and the National Action Plan for the Management of Contaminated Sites in Romania, whose application targets to reduce the problems caused by the contamination of soil and groundwater, and to reduce the risks caused by these to human health and to the environment. The risk assessment and remediation costs of the 1,183 potentially contaminated sites and the 210 contaminated ones are estimated to over EUR 8 billion.

On the short term, until the end of 2015, the aim of the strategy is to write down the principles for the management of the contaminated sites; on medium term, by 2020, the strategy aims to solve the problem of contaminated sites requiring urgent action and, on long-term, by 2050, it is envisaged the completion of the action, as specified by the government.

According to the first inventory carried out during 2007 - 2008 by the National Agency for Environment Protection in Romania, some 1,393 contaminated/potentially contaminated sites were identified.

More than 1,100 plots of land to be cleaned

“Many of these sites are industrial complexes, privatized after 1990, others are state-owned operational complexes (railway halls, mining units, etc.), but there are also orphan/abandoned sites without legal owners. The national inventory carried out by the National Agency for Environment Protection was updated in November 2013, on the basis of the data provided by local authorities a total of 1,183 potentially contaminated sites was found, the counties with most such sites are Giurgiu (223), Arges (111) and Maramures (109). The number of contaminated sites reached 210, the most affected counties being Hunedoara and Caras-Severin. The counties with least polluted areas are Iasi, Tulcea and Satu Mare,” the government informs. “The estimated costs for risk assessment and remediation of the 1,183 potentially contaminated sites amount to EUR 7.145 billion, and in the case of 210 contaminated sites – costs total EUR 1.264 billion, the amounts are to be provided by accessing EU structural funds, through state funding, but also through external funding and investments from the private sector,” the authorities added.

The European Commission decided last year to grant Romania EUR 74.3 million, out of a total of EUR 119.7 million for cleaning several contaminated areas with petroleum products in several counties, the main beneficiary being OMV Petrom. The European money was provided through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under Priority Axis 2 Development of integrated systems for waste management and for rehabilitation of historically contaminated areas, as part of the Romania’s Environment operational programme. The funds are used for the rehabilitation of several sludge pits of Doljchim chemical plant and of Petrobrazi and Arpechim refineries. The project will be implemented by the end of 2015.

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