Hot spot workshop on PFAS explores new ways of stakeholder cooperation

  • 2 februari 2021

The SOILveR predecessors: Snowman and Inspiration

The SOILveR platform, although being a new initiative, builds on the vast experience of the SNOWMAN network and the outcome of the INSPIRATION coordination and support action, both initiated and funded by the European Commission.

The SNOWMAN network started in 2003 and aimed at bridging the gap between knowledge demand and supply. In 2009, SNOWMAN became a self-sustained network that, while initially focusing on the management of contaminated sites, progressively expanded its scope to tackle other aspects related to soil sustainable management.

INSPIRATION, on the other hand, was initiated in order to develop a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for Europe on soil, land use and land management, aiming for a research agenda accepted by all societal groups in the EU member states.

Scope of the SOILveR platform

The SOILveR platform strongly believes in the need for integrated soil and land research and knowledge exchange in Europe.

By funding research in more coordinated, yet still flexible way and by avoiding excessive administrative processes, and by facilitating knowledge exchange through dedicated activities, the platform wants to make maximum use of experience and skills from various professional backgrounds and experience within differing national contexts  , thus creating added value for its members.

At present, SOILveR hosts 3 projects: “SOILval” (on recognising soil values in land use planning systems), “MISSOURI” (on microplastics in soil and groundwater) and “PREMISS” (on priorisation of emerging chemical compounds in soils).

Exploring new ways of stakeholder cooperation – “hot spot” workshop on PFAS (November 9, 2020)

SOILveR believes in the value of sharing knowledge and experiences and to link science to policy and solutions for the daily practice. For this, SOILveR means to initiate and perform supportive activities. A first initiative taken, was the “hot spot” workshop on PFAS, held on November 9th 2020.

Five so called “hot spots” with 5-10 participants were arranged by Sweden (SGI), Belgium (OVAM), France (ADEME), The Netherlands (Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat) and the United Kingdom (arranged by Paul Nathaniel).

The focus of this online video workshop was human health risk assessment of PFAS contaminated land/sites. A central issue was how to deal with PFAS in practice, while little is known about most of the many PFAS that has contaminated soil and groundwater.  Hence, a part of the webinar focused on an international comparison on PFAS risk assessment and policy strategies. The goal of this comparison was to look further than the underpinning of PFAS policies in countries, and to get to a deeper exploration of which national circumstances are used in setting PFAS standards and for PFAS-related decision-making. Participants were also very interested in arriving to reliable databases on an European level and sharing useful PFAS data. And learning from each other through research on sites with a specific ‘ PFAS fingerprint’.

Both PFAS experts as well as experienced policy makers were invited to each national hot spot. This allowed for initiated discussions on what to expect from research in short and long term as well as how policy best can deal with knowledge gaps as well as develop with increasing knowledge.

More details

on the SOILveR platform and the outcome of the workshop is presented at www.soilver.eu.