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New Decree 18/2015 on contaminated soils in Andalusia

The Government of Andalusia has published the Decree 18/2015 regulating the legal and technical criteria for the management of contaminated soils and the activities likely to cause environmental impacts in the soil. 

The decree establishes a list of potentially soil contaminating activities and the technical criteria for qualifying a contaminated land. It also regulates the specific powers of municipalities, including those relating to the declaration, delimitation, approval of remediation plans, or declassification of contaminated soils located in their municipalities.

Among the management tools, the decree establishes:

  • Two inventories, one of declared contaminated soils and another one for potentially contaminated soils;
  • The development of five-year programs with measures for the prevention and remediation of contamination in potential historically affected lands;
  • The obligation of the owners of potentially contaminated lands to submit to the authorities a request to start the investigation and/or remediation process. The corresponding work should be assigned to a company that will be different from the company responsible for certifying the results. In the event of sites where potentially contaminating activities have been carried out in the past the owner shall be obliged to submit situation reports when applying for licenses or permits for the establishment of an activity that supposes a change in land use.
  • The technical criteria to carry out the soil characterization and risk assessment, to determine the generic reference levels for different pollutants and the procedures for evaluating the sites concerned. In this sense, the decree defines contaminated soil as a soil whose characteristics have been negatively altered by the presence of hazardous chemicals in concentrations that imply an unacceptable risk for human health or the environment.

Soil investigation and remediation projects are governed since 2005 in Spain by national and regional regulations attributing responsibility for its implementation to polluters and, secondarily, to owners or tenants of the land.

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Link to the text published  in the Offial Gazette:


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