Toxic legacy: CDM Smith identifies lindane contaminated sites in the EU

28 May 2020
In the past, the neurotoxic insecticide lindane or gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (γ-HCH) was used in agriculture, in human medicine or as a wood preservative. Restrictions for the usage of HCH-compounds were first implemented in the EU starting from 1979 followed by further restrictions and a complete ban of production and usage in 2008. Lindane, alpha- and beta-HCH are listed in the Stockholm Convention due to its hazard potential and persistence in the environment. However, risks still emanate from former production sites or contaminated soil.

The European Commission Directorate General Environment therefore commissioned the TCS-HCH Consortium (TAUW (Netherlands), CDM Smith Europe and SARGA (Spain)), to compile an inventory of sites in the EU to summarize the present extent of lindane and HCH. Amongst others, we are looking for former production sites, landfills for production residues, treatment centers and other locations, and evaluating them in terms of their potential to contaminate soil and groundwater in the past or in the future.

With our great team of experts we are confident to create valuable output as a basis for future measures, mitigating risks of HCH and lindane at affected sites.
Dr. Katja Amstätter, Senior Consultant

In addition, the consortium advises public authorities at local, national and regional level at six sites on how to deal with lindane and HCH contaminated areas. In the course of this, risk assessments, conceptual site models or feasibility studies will be developed. Further work may include the preparation of tenders, cost estimates for various remediation methods and advice on restrictions of use.

The keyword of this project is cooperation on multiple levels! We have put together a cross-departmental CDM Smith team that can be expanded by our Polish colleagues as needed. Our project consortium brings together international experts from the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. Both the client and the project stakeholders are spread across Europe.
Dr. Carola Zeig, Project Manager

One of these sites is the Muldeaue in Germany. This area has been permanently affected by the former chemical production in Bitterfeld and Wolfen. For this site we are preparing a risk analysis and a management concept for dealing with contaminated areas in the Muldeaue.

The EC-funded project “Pilot project to evaluate and address the presence of Lindane and HCH in the EU” runs for two years.

Success makes you proud – joint success makes fun – both are motivating
Dr. Carola Zeig Project Manager
The certainty that our work has positive effects on our environment is truly inspiring.
Dr. Katja Amstätter Senior Consultant, Head of Knowledge Management
it inspires me to broaden my horizon at work every day.
Eberhard Casals Head of Department
Did you know?
The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) regulates the prohibition or reduction of envi­ron­men­tal inputs of corre­spond­ing chemical compounds. The list includes a number of pesticides, industrial chemicals and production and by-products resulting from industrial and combustion processes. Initially, twelve substances were on the list, the so-called "dirty dozen". It now comprises 29 chemicals and substance groups.

CDM Smith provides lasting and integrated solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy and facilities to public and private clients worldwide. As an independent, employee-owned company, we work with team spirit and passion for the satisfaction of our clients and master the challenges of global change with intelligent solutions.