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Model driven soil probing, site assessment and evaluation

Activity Code: ENV.2007.
Coordinator: Prof. Dr Matthias Kästner, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ


Conventional techniques for site characterization are time consuming, cost intensive, and do not often effectively support decision making towards sustainable remediation. Therefore, new techniques for step by step site characterization strategy with smart feed back loops are necessary and have to be developed.

The ModelPROBE approach relies on the combination of advanced geophysical site characterization techniques with new types of vegetation analysis. Based on these non-invasive surveys, the exact location and extension of sources, contamination levels (THP, BTEX, PAH, CHC, explosives, and heavy metals) and soil heterogeneities will be localized first. Hot spots will then be investigated by new direct push probing systems combined with geophysical & hydrogeological methods and with chemical & isotopic analysis for source localization and identification (environmental forensics). The actually occurring bioprocesses, such as contaminant degradation or precipitation/mobilization processes, will be assessed using biosensors, in situ microcosms, and stable isotope and biomarker analysis. These new techniques and tools will be evaluated against best practice of conventional methods. ModelPROBE offers the unique possibility to test, optimize and demonstrate the proposed approach and the developed tools at fully equipped and characterized European reference sites available in the project. Integrated statistical analysis and modelling at different stages of the step by step approach will result in an improved view of soil and subsurface contamination and will provide a sound basis for risk assessment and for the decision on the most appropriate sustainable remediation strategy.

Project Details:

Start Date: 01.06.2008
End Date: 31.03.2012
EU Contribution: 3.4 Mio. Euro
Total Costs: 4.57 Mio. Euro
Funding Scheme: Small or medium-scale focused research project
Administrative Contact Person:
Annette Schmidt, annette.schmidt@ufz.de
Scientific Coordinator:
Prof. Dr Matthias Kästner, matthias.kaestner@ufz.de
Project Website:


  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany
  • MPBF Mess- und Probenahmetechnik Berndsen und Faiss GBR, Germany
  • Universita degli Studi di Roma la Sapienza, Italy
  • Saint Petersburg State University - SPSU, Russian Federation
  • Stichting Deltares, Netherlands
  • Createc Consorzio per l'Ambiente e l'innovazione Tecnologica, Italy
  • Earth Tech CZ SRO, Czech Republic
  • Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany
  • Universita degli Studi di Padova, Italy
  • Aarhus Universitet, Denmark
  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany
  • Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy
  • Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, Denmark
  • Lancaster University, United Kingdom
  • Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France