Publish Date: 26.07.2017

Category: News from the University

A pilot remediation plant with the innovative technology for remediation of soil, polluted with lead and other toxic elements, will be put into operation in Dobja vas expectedly in the end of September. The plant was constructed as part of the LIFE ReSoil project and is an example of the constructive collaboration of researchers of the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana (UL BF) with the companies ENVIT and Arhel. Together we brought to life the expertise of five ARRS research projects, in which several renowned experts from Slovenia and abroad have participated, the results being published in more than twenty bachelor's and master's thesis, six dissertations and more than thirty international articles. 

The soil remediation technology is internationally patented. The development of the technology was lead by Dr. Domen Leštan of the Agronomy department of UL BF, who also received the national Zois award for his work, the company ENVIT received the title “Best start-up in Slovenia” for their business idea. The innovative soil remediation technology enables effective decontamination of soil that is overloaded with lead and other toxic metals. The remediation process is conducted within a closed circuit with zero emissions in the environment, lead and other toxic metals are transfered from the soil into an aqueous phase and from that into a solid phase, which also represents the only waste material in the soil remediation process. The innovative technology also preserves soil fertility, so after the process is concluded the soil is ready for continued use in horticulture and agriculture, which was proven in a laboratory by growing plants in pots and with a smaller pilot project in a greenhouse and experimental beds. 

According to the European Environment Agency 35 percent of soil in Europe is degraded, approximately 250.000 areas are in need of immediate remediation. In Slovenia, the most polluted soil is found in Mežiška dolina, Litija, Celje and Jesenice. 

The financial programme LIFE+ backed the project financially, because it represents a new technology that enables a solution for one of the most pertinent environmental problems. Of course the researchers are not resting, in the future they wish to develop a technology that would enable the further use of the extracted lead and other toxic elements. 

Find out more on the faculty’s website

Photos: Envit company archive