Remediation handbook 2.
Investigation of contaminated soils

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • I. Soil and soil protection
  • II. Soil sampling
  • III. Risk assessment of contaminated soils
  • IV. Waste management
  • V. Some questions in connection with heavy metal investigations
  • VI. Analysis of certain organic pollutants
  • VII. Frequently used methods (Inorganic pollutants)
  • VIII. Basic pedological laboratory investigations
  • IX. On the spot investigations
  • X. Prevention of accidents, protective measures
  • XI. Quality control
  • XII. Soil pollution limit values in Hungary
  • XIII. Definitions and abbreviations
  • XIV. Bibliography


In the last 100 years Hungary went through a change as well. Especially in the period following the Second World War the rate of industrialization, urbanisation and road traffic as well as the chemicalisation and motorisation of agriculture accelerated. There has been an abrupt increase of air, water and soil pollution, especially in the industrial centres of Hungary. Although only about 10% of the whole territory of Hungary is higher polluted, due to the development of industrial centres and large cities almost one half of the population lives in these areas.

We became aware of the importance of the conservation of our environment only recently: a national survey and remediation program of environmental damages was started. The risk of pollutants leaking into soils and waters, thus endangering human health and the living environment makes immediate intervention essential.
At the same time a methodological guidance to provide the scientific basis for remediation is necessary: the summing up of Hungarian and international experience, the elaboration of the limit values needed for interventions and decision making, the laying down of procedures for the determination of the risks of sampling (analyses). (?)

For this purpose the Soil Protection Expert Group has been set up by the Ministry for Environment. Participants of the Expert Group are well-known experts of soil protection and connected sciences thus enabling an interdisciplinary approach accordant to the nature of the given tasks. Under the coordination and edition of the Research Institute for Soil and Agrochemistry of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences the above mentioned Expert Group elaborated the methodological guidance for the investigation and classification of contaminated areas. This handbook may provide help for people concerned with soil protection and the remediation program, and provides scientific basis for official decisions and interventions.

Remediation is a huge task requiring long-term planning and management. The content of this handbook shall be revised and the limit values checked from time to time acc. to the latest experience and research results. The effectiveness of remedial interventions depends on the quality and quantity of background research and local experience, including also the proficiency of the experts taking part in remediation. The Expert Group, as well as “Hungarian research” is facing a lot of further problems to be solved. No limit value has universal validity - we have to gain knowledge on the geological, pedological, hydrological and management characteristics of our country in order to adjust international results to Hungarian circumstances.