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Baseline Report on the State of Soil and Groundwater

The planned construction of a new plant or a substantial modification of an already existing plant listed in the 4th BImSchV (Vierte Verordnung zur Durchführung des Bundes-Immissions-schutzgesetzes - Verordnung über genehmigungsbedürftige Anlagen) marked with the letter “E”, requires the plant operator under particular circumstances to elaborate a baseline report to assess the state of soil and groundwater. Plants according to § 3 of the 4th BImSchV are covered by the Directive on industrial emissions according to § 10 in connection with Appendix I of the Directive 2010/75/EU by the European Parliament and the European Council (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC)). The Baseline Report should document the state of the soil and groundwater at the site of the installation. The report ultimately serves to preserve evidence and provide a reference for the obligation to return the site to its baseline state after closure according to § 5 para 4 BImSchG (see art. 22 IE-RL).

For the elaboration of a baseline report, two documents can be used. At the federal level, a “Guidance for preparation of the baseline report on the state of soil and groundwater” was prepared by the Working Group on Soil Protection Issues of the German Federal States and the Federal Government (Bund/Länder‐Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bodenschutz, LABO) in cooperation with the Working Group on Water Issues of the German Federal States and the Federal Government (Bund/Länder‐Arbeitsgemeinschaft Wasser, LAWA). This “Guidance” can be used as a basis for the elaboration of a baseline report. Due to decrees of some federal states of Germany, the application of the above “Guidance” is obligatory.

The elaboration of a baseline report is based on several steps:

• The hazardous substances applied in the plant have to be determined according to the CLP Regulation.
• Testing and assessment of the properties of substances with reference to the hazard potential for groundwater or soil (relevance according to substances)
• Evaluation of the quantities of hazardous substances existing in the plant (quantitative relevance)

A separate consideration (case-by-case analysis) is carried out for plants for which the AwSV is applied (Regulations on Facilities Handling Substances Dangerous to Water). In this connection it has to be determined whether the technical construction of the plant guarantees that there is no relevant entry of hazardous substances into ground water or soil during the operation of the plant. Afterwards it can be concluded whether soil or groundwater investigations on site are necessary.
If the investigation of individual substances in the Baseline Report is necessary due to the steps above, the following further steps are required:

• presentation of the investigation strategy
• documentation and evaluation of the data on soil and groundwater investigations already carried out at the site and decision whether new measurements are necessary
• documentation of the new investigations of soil and groundwater in case they are necessary
• elaboration and evaluation of the Baseline Report
• suggestion of surveillance concepts

The investigation steps described above are documented based on the technical description of the plant and are then agreed with the competent authority.
On the level of the European Union (EU), the guidelines of the European Commission on baseline reports under Article 22(2) of Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions were established. Furthermore, regulations of the Federal States of Germany have to be taken into account.
The need of establishing a Baseline Report is checked by 8 stages similar to the steps of the LABO/LAWA Guidance.
In many cases, a preliminary check is sufficient and there is no need to elaborate a complete Baseline Report with soil and groundwater investigations.

In this highly sensitive area you can trust in the independence, experience, and expert know-how of Müller-BBM. We offer our comprehensive services for the concept and elaboration of a Baseline Report and for the contact with the authorities and public hearings.

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