Resolving the HCH and Lindane issues in the EU

Related themes: Soil and Groundwater 

Project information

 January 2020 - december 2021  
Client: European Commission 
Involved Tauw consultants:

  • Micha van den Boogerd
  • Boudewijn Fokke
  • Guido van de Coterlet
  • Dianne Ebrecht

What was the project assignment?

Under the name 'HCH in the EU', the European Commission commissioned a consortium with TAUW as lead consultant to identify sites where HCH was handled in the 27 EU Member States and to provide a full roadmap for sustainable management of seven selected HCH contaminated sites. 

The main project deliverables are an EU-wide inventory of sites that may be contaminated with HCH and lindane, as well as consultancy services for authorities in relation to 6 pilot sites.

Lindane (Gamma HCH) was produced and used as a broad-spectrum insecticide for seed and soil treatment, foliar applications, tree and wood treatment, and treatment against ectoparasites in both veterinary and human applications between 1945 and 2000. During the production, eight to twelve tons of waste isomers were produced for every ton of lindane. In May 2009 HCH (α-HCH, β-HCH, and lindane) were listed in the Stockholm Convention as (POPs) due to its persistence, toxicity and long-range transport and are harmful to humans or the environment.

Cooperation during the project

The consortium consisted of TAUW, CDM Smith Europe GmbH from Germany and Sociedad Aragonesa de Gestión Agroambiental (SARGA) S.L.U from Spain. Because the project consists of many different (international) parties and locations, good cooperation and sharing of information was essential. To facilitate this during the project, a tailor-made digital environment including a Geographic Information Model (GIM) to collect, organise, store, interpret, assess and report all inventory data from the different locations was created. 

In addition extensive cooperation took place in providing consultancy services for 6 sites (Wintzenheim in France, Mulde River Germany, Sabiñanigo in Spain, Valle del Sacco Colleferro in Italy, Hajek in Czech Republic, O Porriño in Spain). These consultancy services focused on technical and organisational support so that contaminated sites could be managed in a sustainable manner. Experience and exchange of knowledge regarding development of 3D CSM, remediation planning, cost estimates, set-up of stakeholder support groups and analysis of HCH biodegradation in groundwater were successfully formed.

"Working and collaborating with TAUW went very smoothly. The team communicated well and acted professionally, despite the changes that were necessary due to Covid. TAUW respected the deadlines and the budget, and successfully completed all project deliverables. The 2-weekly feedback meetings were much apprectiated and helped to keep the project on track." - Bavo Peeters


The general objectives of the HCH in EU project generated insights into:

  • A comprehensive inventory of sites in all the EU member states where HCH was produced, stored, landfilled, treated and may or may not have polluted the soil and groundwater. This resulted in country-specific lists of (potential) HCH-affected sites in all 27 EU Member States. The systematic inventory of HCH sites revealed that at least 299 HCH sites are present in the EU where HCH was handled on a larger scale.

    (Click on the map to see in full-width)

  • Consultancy services to map the needs for the six mentioned 6 HCH contaminated sites to manage these locations sustainably once and for all. Six pilot sites helped to form a strategy on how to tackle the legacy of these sites and provide a guidance on the next steps for implementing the sustainable management of these sites EU-wide and proposes actions on EU, country and site level.

For more information about the project please see ‘milestones’ where we provide webinars, background articles and project related news and deliverables.



HCH in EU webinar + break-out session - 26 November - 10am CET
Registration for this event is not possible anymore

HCH in EU webinar + break-out session - 1 December - 2pm CET
Registration for this event is not possible anymore

HCH in EU webinar + break-out session - January 2021 (Cancelled)
Cancelled due to two successful webinars and available recording (watch below)

Watch the previous webinar  



Milestones and downloads 

August 10th, 2020 
Milestone: First Draft Country Specific List (CSL) submitted  
Read the newsarticle

January 28th, 2021 
Background article (part 1): HCH in EU - History and usage of HCH
Download this article 

March 24th, 2021
Background article (part 2): HCH in EU - Conceptual Site Models (CSM), environmental and health risks of HCH-contaminated sites
Download this article 

June 16th, 2021
Background article (part 3): HCH in EU - The Valle del Sacco and Mulde river experience
Download this article 

November 23rd, 2021
News: Project ‘HCH in EU’: first detailed EU-wide inventory of the HCH legacy
Read the newsarticle


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