LIFE Project 11 ENV/ES/000506
The main objective of this project is to evaluate, demonstrate and disseminate a sustainable alternative for the environmental and landscape rehabilitation of a stretch of the contaminated river Guadalentín after its flow along the industrial area and urban nucleus of Lorca. Riverbed and banks soils are contaminated, and vegetation cover is degraded owing to former direct waste spills coming from industries (mainly tanneries), farms (swine) and agriculture (excess of fertilization with swine slurries). The project will achieve this objective by using the technique of phytoextraction, which contributes to transfer heavy metals and excess of nutrients from soils to plants (which will be removed from the system periodically), and the recovery of native vegetation cover to restore the natural communities of flora and fauna, mitigating soil erosion as well. With the decrease of heavy metals and salts in soil, and restoration of riparian vegetation we will achieve the reestablishment of a stable ecological equilibrium that is coordinated with its surroundings in order to attain ecological holism, taking always into account the role of local population and traditional activities for their integration in the landscape restoration. In order to achieve the main objective “implementing methods for rehabilitation of a stretch of the contaminated river Guadalentin by means of phytoextraction”, the detailed objectives can be summarized as follows:
- To reclaim contaminated soils from riverbed and banks using the technique of phytoextraction. With this, several selected accumulator native plant species will be used to uptake metals and ions from the sediments. Plants will be periodically removed for metals final disposal, and new plants will be planted to replace the removed ones.
- To protect slopes, by means of techniques of bioengineering and landscape integration, and restore native vegetation cover in riversides and slopes, to mitigate the erosion process and recuperate the ecological equilibrium of the ecosystem.
- Energetic management of the residual contaminated biomass generated in phytoextraction actions and recovery of the extracted metals to be incorporated in the manufacturing of other product, such as concrete.
- To monitor the evolution of soil properties (mainly metals and ions), as well as vegetation in the restored area.
- To rehabilitate landscape based on ecological planning and design.
- To disseminate and transfer the experience and knowledge generated at provincial, national and European level by means of public information and manual technique adapted to different stakeholders.
The main result of this project is the decontamination of a contaminated riverbed by former wastes spills and dumps and the riparian vegetation recuperation by means of the phytoextraction technique. The project will improve soil physical, chemical and biological conditions, reducing the contents in heavy metals and salts, which guarantee the development of microbial communities and plant colonization, essential to soil functioning. In the whole, we will achieve a landscape restoration based on ecological and aesthetic criteria. The main final objective of the Project is the ecological rehabilitation of the riverbed and banks, extracting the heavy metals and eliminating the current bound risks for environment and population, permitting the final development of vegetation and the restoration of the ecosystem. Monitoring of soil and vegetation properties and plant colonization will be carried out until total ecological stabilisation of plant species and soil fertility is increased enough to maintain the vegetation, even if this stabilization is gotten post project. In addition, the maintenance of the rehabilitated area will be carried out indefinitely. This will be possible because the local administration will fund the activities of monitoring and maintenance to reduce the environmental risk of the river stretch and increase the population welfare. The plant producers will support these activities in order to find new contaminated areas to apply phytoextraction, which increase the potential use of vegetation for this purpose.
Coordinator Dirección General de Medio Ambiente. Consejería de Presidencia de la Región de Murcia (CARM). C/ Catedrático Eugenio Úbeda, 3, 4º planta. 30071 Murcia Associated Grupo de Gestión, Aprovechamiento y Recuperación de Suelos y Aguas (GARSA) Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena Plaza Cronista isidro Valverde. Edificio “La Milagrosa”. 30202 Cartagena (Murcia) Ayuntamiento de Lorca. Plaza de España, 1. 30800 Lorca (Murcia) Confederación Hidrográfica del Segura. Plaza Fontes, 1. 30001 Murcia
– Preparatory actions (A) Acción A1. Preliminary activities. – Implementation actions (B) Action B1. Initial characterization of soils and vegetation. Action B2. Phytoextraction in sediments. Action B3. Slopes protection and revegetation. Action B4. Energetic use of residual contaminated biomass. Action B5. Evolution of soils and vegetation. Action B6. Environmental recovery and landscape design. – Monitoring the impacts of the project actions (C) Action C1. Monitoring the effectiveness of true soil rehabilitation Action C2. Monitoring the socioeconomic impact – Communication and Dissemination actions (D) Action D1. Dissemination and Communication Plan Action D2. Public website Action D3. Notice boards Action D4. Publication of information/publicity material Action D5. Technical visits Action D6. Training course Action D7. Workshops and seminars Action D8. Assistance to fairs and conferences – Project management and monitoring of the project progress (E) Action E1. Project Management. Action E2. Networking with other projects. Action E3. Audit. Action E4. After LIFE Communication Plan.
Biomass Organic matter originated in a spontaneous or induced biological process that can be usable for as a potential energy source.
Decontaminate To make something safe by removing, neutralizing, or destroying any harmful substance.
Phytoextraction Absorption of contaminant metals by plant roots and their accumulation in stems and leaves.
Phytoremediation Soil decontamination, wastewater treatment or indoor air cleaning, using vascular plants, algae (phytorremediation) or fungi (mycoremediation), and ecosystem containing these plants.
Heavy metals Group of chemical elements that have a relatively high density and some toxicity to humans. Some may represent a serious environmental problem. The best known are mercury, lead, cadmium and thallium. It also usually includes a semimetal as arsenic and, in some cases, some non-metal such as selenium.
Restoration Degraded, damaged or destroyed ecosystem reestablishment. The objective of ecological restoration is the conservation and replenishment of natural capital, as well as restitution of ecosystem services for the society use and enjoyment.
Río Guadalentín, Lorca. Murcia
The Project will be carried out in a stretch ok 1,5 km of the Guadalentín river, at the city of Lorca. www.lorca.es