Tauw ‘Natural Catch’ entry wins NICOLE Technology Award 2013

During the Namur NICOLE workshop, Tauw was declared winner of the NICOLE Technology Award 2013 with ‘The Natural Catch project: decontamination by means of natural or reusable/recycled materials’.


NICOLE (Network for Industrially Contaminated Land in Europe) is a European network for the sustainable soil management of industrial sites for industry, academia and consultancy engineering companies. This network created the NICOLE Technology Award to promote technical innovations for risk-oriented and sustainable soil management.

The Natural Catch

The Tauw entry ‘The Natural Catch’ is based on the Kanaalpolder project in Zeeland, where a landfill site containing chemical waste – including chloroethane, dichloroethane, monochlorobenzene and ethylbenzene – poses a risk for the migration of contamination via ground water. By applying the purifying force of (modified) peat as a natural filter material in a draining ditch in which aerobic and photochemical degradation takes place (Natural Catch) Tauw succeeded in achieving a purification efficiency of 93% - 100% in a pilot study.

The purifying power of peat, or of another suitable biologically stable natural material, lies in the adsorbent power of these materials. As a result, components that are less mobile are fixed and components that are mobile are retarded and buffered which prevents shock loading of the micro-organisms in the surface water of the ring ditch. In addition it is an excellent binding material for the required micro-organisms.
Advantages of the Natural Catch concept in relation to other purification techniques are the limited operational and maintenance costs, the long storage life and less CO2 emissions.

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