Case Study: Regional Public Administration relies on accreditation to control contaminated soils

Regional Public Administration relies on accreditation to control contaminated soils

Poor waste management practices in industrial facilities may have irreversible effects for soils and sustainable development. Certain Public Administrations therefore require accreditation by ENAC, the Spanish Accreditation Body, of these controlling entities to guarantee monitoring and control for a proper soils management.

Soils and groundwater are a resource we should protect to guarantee sustainable development, as they act like a drain for contaminants generated as a result of bad waste management.

The approval of Royal Decree 9/2005 required a change in the regulatory framework as it focused on a new environmental impact. The objective of this Royal Decree was to “establish a record of activities that might cause soil contamination, as well as adopt standards and criteria to declare contaminated soils”. The publication of Law 22/2011 enacted the regulation of a legal regime relating to contaminated soils. Both documents (Royal Decree 9/2005 and Law 22/2011) constitute the national action framework in terms of soils management.

Regional Public Administration plays an essential role in the development and implementation of this regulation, as they are responsible for initiating and applying it. Many regions have determined that soil quality inspection entities need to be accredited by ENAC, in accordance with UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17020:2012. This requirement is set out in specific legislative developments, such as the decrees ruling in País Vasco, Galicia, Andalucía and Extremadura or the legal requirements to operate as Public Administration partners in terms of environmental quality, among others. Currently, 50 entities have been accredited by ENAC for contaminated soils and groundwater inspection.

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