Emile Marnette is a soil remediation consultant and one of the eight authors of the book In Situ Soil and Groundwater Remediation: Theory and Practice. Marnette specifically contributed to the description of thermal remediation: The sanitation of soil pollution by applying heat. This reference work describes 16 of the most common techniques for on site remediation, based on the practical experience of Tauw experts.
“I frequently consult the book as a reference work myself.”
The back of the book contains a large number of tables with substances that were the subject of soil remediation. Marnette: “That's why I often use the book as a reference myself.” Marnette also emphasised how the chapter with practical examples makes the book very useful. That this is an appealing facet is shown throough a nice anecdote. Marnette: “One time someone made a remediation design based on the examples we described. That is of course not what we intended, as the descriptions lack sufficient depth for this purpose. But we did take it as a compliment. Clearly the descriptions of the techniques and the practical experience are so inspiring that someone used them with confidence.”
His more than 25 years of experience in soil decontamination has given Marnette great expertise in the various techniques. He also co-wrote multiple sections of the book. “There are various ways to remediate polluted soil, for example by blowing it out, or through excavation. When you perform in situ remediation, there is no need for excavation; we break down the contamination or convert it into a substance that is not harmful to the environment. Heating of the soil is very effective when it is polluted with volatile substances, such as petrol, that evaporate at a relatively low temperature. Substances such as these can easily be retrieved from the soil and treated above ground.”
Unlike in the past, legislation in the Netherlands no longer allows the addition of foreign substances to the soil. In general, this legislation is adhered to. Most major contaminations have also been remediated by now. Nevertheless, according to Marnette, cleaning and keeping the soil clean is still a topical issue. “Incidental new contaminations still occur. Fortunately, thanks to the current guidelines these incidents are reported nowadays. But there are other issues. For example, we have discovered that certain compounds of substances present a problem, contrary to what we used to believe. And there is the antibiotics issue. Those substances ended up in animal manure through animal feed, and have been spread out over our agricultural lands in that way. What is their effect on groundwater and our drinking water? There will always be new issues.”
The completely revised edition of In Situ Soil and Groundwater Remediation: Theory and Practice was published in May 2018.