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Soil and Groundwater Remediation vs. Sustainability

ecotora has been engaged in Contaminated Site Assessment and Remediation activities for over 7 years and has now incorporated the process of ‘Sustainability’ into its operations. Serkan İktü, Head of Environmental Services and Sustainability Departments, explains the process as follows:

In our country, approximately seven years have passed since the commencement of Soil Pollution Control and Point Source Polluted Sites Regulation, which covers activities related to identifying, cleaning, and improving soil and groundwater pollution.

During this process, I believe that all stakeholders, including service provider firms like us, Ministry officials, Provincial Directorates, Universities, and facility owners involved in these activities, have gained substantial knowledge.

In these days when the Competency Announcement, related regulations, and guides on contaminated sites are being updated, we as adaptable firms have started to address current and increasingly important topics such as sustainability, carbon footprint, and water footprint.

The first step taken towards the sustainable improvement of contaminated sites

In 2020, as part of a soil and groundwater remediation project within the borders of Istanbul, we reevaluated our work according to the ISO 18504:2017 “Soil Quality, Sustainable Remediation” standard. We started working on minimizing the social impacts, ecological footprint, and hotspots in the life cycle assessment that may arise from the improvement system and operation during fieldwork in order to ensure that social impacts and ecological footprint values are minimized for the project.

Within this scope, we prepared an additional report to the one submitted to the Provincial Directorate, explaining the efforts made to ensure the sustainability of the operation, the steps taken, and the gains achieved.

As of 2022, we have taken a new step. We commit to calculating the carbon footprint of all soil and groundwater pollution remediation works we plan and implement, and taking all necessary steps to make the project carbon-neutral.

For calculating the carbon footprint, we have started by identifying measurable parameters and creating a simple calculation tool: electricity consumption, production of equipment used in the treatment system, production and procurement of chemicals used, fuel consumption (site visits, drilling operations, excavation operations), emissions during processes, etc. With this tool, we can calculate the carbon footprint of the remediation methods we currently use and share the results transparently with our customers through the interface we provide.

Just as carbon footprint calculations and reports are made for businesses, processes, or products, we emphasize that since remediation works are a process with inputs and outputs and environmental impacts, these impacts should be disclosed. This way, we aim to take a positive step for the environment and human health on one hand, and on the other hand, we aim to consider these impacts when setting improvement targets. In this context, we share the transparent data of the fields we are environmentally friendly improving with our customers, and aim for the processes on the field to be in line with sustainable development goals in every aspect.

Another goal of ours is to soon make generic calculations for many applicable improvement methods and incorporate the carbon footprint as a selection criterion among the improvement method criteria.

We thank all stakeholders involved in our efforts and hope that in future improvement works, parameters that support sustainability such as carbon net zero will be evaluated as a selection criterion.

Serkan İktü
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