Eco-efficiency in contaminated land management in Finland - Barriers and development needs

Jaana Sorvari*, Riina Antikainen, Marja Leena Kosola, Pekka Hokkanen, Teija Haavisto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


In Finland the number of potentially contaminated sites totals ca. 20 000. The annual costs of remediation are 60-70 million euros. Excavation combined with disposal or off-site treatment is the most common soil remediation method. To define which factors make contaminated land management (CLM) eco-efficient and to study whether eco-efficiency has been considered in CLM decisions we carried out a literature survey, two stakeholder seminars, thematic interviews and a questionnaire study on economic instruments. Generally speaking, eco-efficiency means gaining environmental benefits with fewer resources. To assess its realization in CLM, it is necessary to have a more specific definition. In our study, we arrived at a list of several qualifications for eco-efficiency. It was also shown that eco-efficiency has hardly been a real issue in the selection of remediation techniques or generally, in the decision-making concerning contaminated sites. The existing policy instruments seem to be insufficient to promote eco-efficiency in CLM. Several concrete barriers to eco-efficiency also came up, urgency and lack of money being the most important. The scarcity of the use of in situ remediation methods and the difficulties involved in recycling slightly contaminated or treated soil were considered to be major problems. Insufficient site studies, inadequate or unsuitable methods for risk assessment and cost evaluation, and deficient and mistimed risk communication can also hinder the realization of eco-efficiency. Hence, there is a need to promote the use of more eco-efficient remediation techniques and to develop CLM policy instruments, guidelines, and participatory processes and methods to assess the eco-efficiency of CLM options.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1715-1727
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Contaminated site
  • Groundwater
  • Remediation
  • Risk management
  • Soil


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