INNOVATION FOR THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT
Innovative biological solutions for the remediation of polluted marine sediments.
LIFE SEDREMED project experimentation started in Bagnoli (Naples, IT) with cutting-edge technologies to intervene on the seabed of the former industrial area.
The project, co-financed by the European Commission with over €1.4 million under the LIFE Programme and coordinated by the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station of Naples, aims to develop an innovative bioremediation technique.
The experimentation is based on the use of microorganisms and electric current (bacterial activity stimulated by electrokinetic systems) to decrease the concentration of contaminants in marine sediments, in fact one of the most complex elements of the remediation of former industrial sites.
The project aims to provide a sustainable solution – from an environmental and economic point of view – to the reclamation of the coastal area of the Bagnoli-Coroglio Site of National Interest (SIN) and can be replicated at other sites with similar problems across Europe.
LIFE SEDREMED aims to provide an alternative solution to deal with a complex and high-cost intervention such as the one currently used, which involves the mechanical removal of contaminated sediments. Moreover, the results of the project will contribute to the definition of useful elements for the preparation of technical and regulatory specifications for the management and remediation of contaminated sediments that are currently not available in Italy or in Europe.
The project partners will develop a prototype, which will be tested first in the laboratory and then in the field, to apply micro-organisms within the sediment that have the capacity to enact bio-remediation processes; this capacity will be further enhanced through the transmission of electricity. The successful outcome of this project may contribute to developing an innovative approach to the issue of marine sediment remediation with low impacts on the ecosystem and reduced costs by eliminating the dredging and treatment/contaminated sediment phases.
The European Partnership
The project is the result of a European-wide partnership: in addition to the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station and Invitalia (the public company that manages the Bagnoli-Coroglio area) the partnership includes the two companies supplying the technologies: Idrabel (Belgium) for the micro-organism part and Ekogrid (Finland) for the electro-kinetic system.
In addition, Isodetect (Germany) and the Marche Polytechnic University (UNIVPM) are in charge of monitoring the environmental results. Completing the picture is the start-up Nisida Environment (Italy), which manages the dissemination, communication, and replication aspects of the project.
With respect to communication, the LIFE-SEDREMED project has the additional objective of raising public awareness of the technical complexities involved in the remediation of marine sediments, which affects several areas across Europe. In fact, the methodologies and knowledge that will emerge from this experimentation can be replicated in other dismissed industrial sites and potentially transferred to other reclamation applications (river sediments, soils, water tables).
“The Zoological Station is extremely motivated to coordinate this project, which has a strong international scope thanks to the presence of prestigious foreign partners in the consortium, and which represents an important advancement in the application of eco-sustainable technologies for the bioremediation of the polluted Bagnoli site” – Dr. Donatella De Pascale, Director of the Department of Eco-sustainable Marine Biotechnologies.
Prof. Filippo De Rossi, Sub-Commissioner, commenting on the activities launched within the project states that: “The results of the activities envisaged by the project could contribute to a significant advancement in the techniques of environmental remediation of marine sediments with positive impacts also on the ongoing and planned activities in Bagnoli”.
An important objective of the project is to activate ways for civil society to participate in the development and implementation of reclamation processes; it is indeed crucial to inform and involve local communities to strengthen citizens’ trust in the work of the institutions and of the companies involved.