The WELCOME IMS is a stepwise approach to establish integrated risk based management plans for contaminated megasites.

Such management plans are needed for complying with EU directives demanding

  • Protection of the quality of surface and groundwater systems in Europe, and for that reason the
  • Emission control of pollutants from regions containing large amounts of contaminants in soil, groundwater and sediment (Megasites), and
  • To follow a risk-based approach, in order to comply with the proportionality principle, as defined in these EU directives.

More specifically, the relevant EU directives are the Water Framework Directive and the GroundWater Directive. These directives demand the establishment of River Basin Management Plans for all European rivers and associated groundwater systems. Steps to complying with this directive are the WFD River Basin Status Reports that were due in the year 2005, and the WFD Programmes of Measures due in the year 2009. Emission control through risk-based management plans for contaminated megasites need to be included in these reports by land- and river-basin management organisations and authorities, since these regions are considered to be a major group of contaminant sources affecting the quality of European water systems.

Such management plans are also needed for complying with national/regional or local environmental regulations related to contaminated land and groundwater.

Establishment of risk-based management plans for contaminated megasites is difficult. These areas are large and complex systems from various perspectives:

  • The hydro-geological structure
  • Contamination pattern, and spreading and attenuation processes over time scales of decades to hundreds of years
  • Land-use, current and in the future
  • Many different stakeholders (industry, communities, authorities)
  • Different authorities responsible for land-use and water quality management
  • The National-EU regulatory interface, i.e. the transition boundary between national/regional legislation on historical contaminations and EU legislation on water systems.
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