Closure and remediation

The provisions relating to site closure and remediation are a novelty in the IED. They were included to remedy an unsatisfactory vagueness regarding responsibility for negative impacts on the quality of soil and groundwater.2® To enable operators to be held responsible for such impacts, the IED introduces two linked requirements. One is that operators must prepare and submit a baseline report before starting operation of an installation or before a permit for an installation is updated for the first time after 7 January 2013. This applies to activities which involve the use, production, or release of relevant hazardous substances that may contaminate the soil and groundwater at the site of the installation. The report must contain information on soil and groundwater measurements that reflect the state at the time the report is drawn up. It should thereby permit a quantified comparison between the state of the site described in the report and the state of the site upon definitive cessation of activities, in order to ascertain whether a significant increase in pollution of soil or groundwater has taken place. Guidance on the content of the baseline report is to be established by the Commission.

The second part of the obligation, which applies upon definitive cessation of the activities, is to assess the state of soil and groundwater contamination by relevant hazardous substances used, produced, or released by the installation. Where the installation has caused significant pollution of soil or groundwater by relevant hazardous substances compared to the state established in the baseline report, the operator shall be required by the permit to take the necessary measures to address that pollution so as to return the site to the state described in the report. The technical feasibility of such measures may be taken into account. If, however, the contamination of soil and groundwater at the site poses a significant risk to human health or the environment as a result of the permitted activities carried out by the operator before the permit for the installation is updated for the first time after 7 January 2013 then the operator shall be required to take the necessary actions so that the site, taking into account its current or approved future use, ceases to pose such a risk. (Art 22.)

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