The Operational Programme Environment - priority axis 4, the area of action 4.2 - Rehabilitation of Old Ecological Burdens

The Operational Programme Environment (“OPŽP”) for the years 2007 – 2013 offers over EUR 5 billion from European funds for environmental projects in the Czech Republic. As the second largest operational programme covers 18.4% of all resources allocated from EU funds for the Czech Republic. All relevant OPŽP documents are available (in Czech only).

Old ecological burdens resp. historical contaminated sites mean high risk to human health as well as to ecosystems. Remedial measures implemented so far were financed from various sources: National Property Fund (from 2006 the Ministry of Finance), the Ministry of the Environment for the remediation of contaminated sites after former Soviet Army; other source: the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Transport, and Ministry for Regional Development. In addition, sources of regional authorities, pursuant to § 42, par. 4 of Act No. 254/2001 Coll., on Water, to ensure accidental (not remedial) measures, and also private sources and the Structural Funds of the EU.

However, under the existing programmes, financial resources for some of the following cases are fully missing:

Remediation of long-term contaminated groundwater, pursuant to § 42, par. 4 of Act No. 254/2001 Coll. on Waters
Other risk sites – landfills, pesticides, POPs sites
Accidentally discovered contaminated sites without the owner

From the long-term viewpoint, the described situation dealing with contaminated sites is not sustainable. The responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment for waste and contaminated sites also results from the adopted the National Implementation Plan of the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which was taken into consideration by the Government Resolution No. 1572/2005.

EU assumes that one department guarantees the issues of remediation of contaminated sites in the Czech Republic. The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the national reporting obligations towards the European Environmental Agency and other subjects in the field of contaminated sites and is the expert guarantor for the process of remediation of contaminated sites within the privatization and remediation of damage caused by the former Soviet Army. These aspects lead to the establishment of the Ministry of the Environment as the guarantor for the process of remediation of contaminated sites at national level, which is included in the system solution for the issues of remediation of contaminated sites in the Czech Republic.

The concept of the system steps, including the methodology of categorization of the priorities for the remediation of contaminated sites was submitted to the Government based on the Czech Republic Government Resolution No. 182/2006. The concept of support within the area of action 4.2 - Rehabilitation of Old Ecological Burdens represents the system solution of the process of remediation of contaminated sites in the Czech Republic. The area of action 4.2 is not intended to replace the existing programmes for the remediation of contaminated sites but complement them at the points where there is lack of financial resources, or where it is possible to use the EU funds. These funds would also contribute to the completion of inventory of contaminated sites in the Czech Republic. This will be followed by the categorization of the priorities according to the new Guidance for Categorization of Priorities of old environmental burdens for the process of remediation of contaminated sites. The entire process is coordinated by the Department of Environmental Damage at the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic.

Definition of old ecological burdens (contaminated sites):
The polluter does not exist or is unknown
Contaminated sites represent a serious contamination of soil, groundwater, or building structures

Supported activities within the area of action 4.2 - Rehabilitation of Old Ecological Burdens:
Inventory and categorization of contaminated sites
Elaboration of Risk Assessments
Remediation of seriously contaminated sites

Competence of the Department of Environmental Damage:
1. The application process – the Position of the Ministry of the Environment:
The Department of Environmental Damage issue the Position of the Ministry of the Environment that is an integral part of the application for a grant of area of action 4.2 given to the State Environmental Fund.
The content of the Statement of the Ministry of the Environment:
Assessment of provided information, the quality of application, and the state of contaminated site
Determination of the category of priorities for the contaminated site
Establishment of limits for remediation (concentration, time limits, the establishment of measures) in case of application for remediation,
Establishment of obligatory requirements for the process the implementation of the project
2. Monitoring the implementation of the project
The Department of Environmental Damage together with the State Environmental Fund control and monitor the implementation of remediation measures.