Torna alla pagina del sommario
Back to summary page

La Bonifica dei Suoli (e delle acque)
Soil (and water) Remediation


Contaminated sites by hazardous substances are a major environmental concern in Europe e throughout the world.
Significant financial and human resources are devoted for the remediation of such sites. Many steps have been taken to restrict or ban from use some contaminants (PCBs, IPA, CLB-derivatives) and reduce discharge of others. However, contaminants can persist for many years in soil and sediments , where they have the potential to adversely affect human health and the environmental. Soil Remediation research consists in the study of the better understanding of the nature of contaminated soils and sediments and the risks they pose, the better technology for dealing with soils and sediments, and reasonable approaches to management of the problem.
It is apparent also that the cooperation among site managers, decision makers, and scientists and engineers is needed to share information and develop workable, cost-effective solutions


To this end Soil Remediation research has developed two different approaches to remediate contaminated soils and sediments:

- chemical-physical technologies, that apply innovative methods to remove pollutants from the soil and sediments with the lowest environmental impact, i.e. soil/ sediments washing by biogenic surfactants that definitively remove the risks posed by organic solvents or inorganic reagents, or oxidative technologies (Fenton or foto-Fenton methods) to pre-treat the polluted soil/ sediments or to post-treat the washed soil/sediments or to treat the lecheate coming from soil/sediments washing

- bioremediation, a developing technology that uses microrganisms to degrade contaminants into less toxic or non-toxic compounds. As the more traditional remediation technologies are proving to be expensive and in certain instances slow, bioremediation has become a popular and attractive alternative.

A Case Study. The SISIFO Project

Sisifo project, integrated in the INCA national plain “Soil Remediaiton”, consists in a co-financed research program by Government Commissary (Ministry of the Environment) to remediate the ACNA area (Cengio-SV, Italy).
On the remediated area a Centre of Research and Experimentation devoted to soils and sediments remediation has been found (Ce.S.T.A-Centre to the Develop of the Environmental Technologies).
The several research activities will be integrally developed by the INCA Research Units involved in the program (placed in Genoa, Turin, Alessandria, Milan, Venice, Viterbo, Naples , Cagliari and Cosenza ), under an only coordination and strictly connected, working on the same soil sample taken on the ACNA site.
The Research Units involved in the project identify two different kinds of approaches:

1) bioremediation, using microorganisms able to degrade the pollutant charge
2) chemical methods application to attack soil matrix chemically
3) soil washing of the soil matrix with biological surfactants to remove the pollutants and chemical or biological treatment of the extract

“Develop and implementation of necessary knowledges to remediate the environment by removing hazardous compounds coming from industrial activity”

Duration: 24 months
Total budget: 2.200.000 Euros
Coordinator: Prof. Pietro Canepa, Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry, University of Genoa, Italy

Basing on the Law 426/99, more than 40 sites of national interest have been recognized (Ordinance of the Ministers Council President, Department of Civil Protection n° 2986, May 31st, 1999.

ACNA site

ACNA: problem extension

Area extension: 550.000 mq
Subdivision of the area in 2 zones: medially polluted (contaminated by percolated) and strongly polluted (contaminated by industrial wastes).
Medially polluted soil: 1.865.000 m3
Strongly polluted soil and industrial wastes: 1.960.000 m3




Structure and aims of “Sisifo” project
“Sisifo” project is integrated in the INCA research project “Soil Remediation” with two different drive lines:

1) Bioremediation-coordinator Prof. Enrica Galli
2) Chemiremediation-coordinator Edmondo Pramauro
The experimental activities were carried out also at the INCA “Soil Remediation” laboratory in Cengio (SV-Italy).

- 14 Research Units
- 7 Units employed on Bioremediation
- 7 Units employed on Chemiremediation
- 7 pilot plants
- Experimentation on ACNA samples
- 10 biennial research contracts for young researchers
- Optimization of innovative technologies
- Spin-off

“Monitoring, isolation and characterization of microbial population to bioremediate the ACNA site”
RU Milano 3, Prof. Enrica Galli

“Bioremediation of heavy metals polluted soil”
RU Venezia 5, Prof. Franco Baldi

“Integrated systems for bioremediation and recovery of polluted soils by organic recalcitrant compounds and heavy metals”
RU Genova 1, Prof. Pietro Canepa

“Analysis and modellization of biofiltration processes of lecheates coming from the soil washing and the bioventing”
RU Genova 2, Prof. Marco Del Borghi

“Fungi strains utilization for the degradation of polycyclic aromatic compounds”
RU Viterbo 1, Prof. Federico Federici

“Biotractability study of ACNA contaminated soils by using an analytical chemical-biological-ecotoxicological integrated approach”
RU Bologna, Prof. Fabio Fava

“Study of transport and attenuation of chlorinated aliphatic solvents in a contaminated stratum”
RU Roma 1, Prof. Marco Petrangeli Papini

“Extraction, concentration and demolition of organic pollutants in ACNA site”
RU Torino 2, Prof. Edmondo Pramauro

“Remediation of contaminated soils by using humic substances and oxidative co-polimerization of organic contaminants for biomimetic catalysis”
RU Napoli 2, Prof. Alessandro Piccolo

“Treatment of liquid wastes by non conventional environmentally compatible processes– electrochemical oxidation to depurate percolates and groundwaters contaminated by organic compounds coming from industrial activities”
RU Alessandria, Prof. Orfeo Zerbinati

“Non-conventional and environmentally compatible treatments of liquid wastes-chemical-chemical oxidation and adsorption processes
RU Cagliari 1, Prof. Giacomo Cao

“Study of photo-catalytical materials and processes to degrade organic contaminants in ACNA site liquid wastes”
RU Torino 1, Prof. Salvatore Coluccia

“Metallic compounds and elements in the soil. Determination, characterization and speciation
RU Torino 2, Prof. Edoardo Mentasti

“Hybrid membrane processes to remove heavy metals from contaminated soils”
RU Cosenza, Prof. Raffaele Molinari


Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale "La Chimica per l'Ambiente"
Sede Legale Amministrativa: Via delle Industrie, 21/8- 30175 VENEZIA-MARGHERA (VE) - ITALY