Natuurpunt partners in LIFE Narmena project NAture-based Remediation of MEtal pollutants in Nature Areas to increase water storage capacity
Managing increasing flood risks is a critical challenge for EU Member States, and water management is a key priority. One strategy to deal with emerging water pressure is the creation of water retention areas. However, widespread water and sediment pollution poses a serious obstacle to the creation of retention areas, since pollution would spread even further. A complicating factor is that water retention areas are generally situated in nature reserves where pollution can seriously damage the ecosystem.
In the LIFE project NARMENA, seven partners target historical metal pollution in stream sediments and adjacent soils, located in nature reserves with a high water retention potential. Conventional remediation techniques can be effective, but are too destructive in areas with a high nature value. In LIFE NARMENA nature-based remediation (NBR) methods will be evaluated as a solution for contaminated soils and sediments in rivers, on riverbanks and on flood plains.
OVAM (Public Waste Agency of Flanders) implements this project together with the Flemish Agency for Nature and Forests (ANB), Eurosite member Natuurpunt, the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM), ABO NV, Bio2Clean, and ARCHE Consulting bvba. Demonstration projects will be established for bacteria assisted phytostabilization, a subsurface flow constructed wetland and free water flow constructed wetlands in three different pilot sites in Flanders.
The aim is to significantly reduce the bioavailability of the metals. The current ecological risk of the metal pollution and the impact of different remediation scenarios will be assessed using a combination of environmental monitoring, eco-toxicity testing and ecological modelling.
NARMENA’s results and experiences will be used to develop a framework for the application of these NBR techniques. Applying this framework, successful techniques will be replicated at other sites in Europe.
LIFE NARMENA is co-financed by the European Union. It is a six-year project and was launched in July 2019. For more information, please visit the project website.
Photo credit: Kevin Ortiz