The FBU (soil investigation advisory council)
All members of the FBU are credentialed experts from federal and regional-state agencies and investigation authorities and have experience with business and expert-report processes related to implementation of the BBodSchV (soil protection regulation). The FBU compiles information and makes recommendations concerning advanced soil investigation methods and procedures, the goal being to help remedy methodological deficiencies in the field of soil investigation.
The FBU’s remit
Annex 1 of the BBodSchV soil protection regulation describes the FBU’s remit as follows: “Within the meaning of this Annex, the status of methods and procedures shall be the development status of advanced procedures whose suitability for the aforesaid investigations appears to be assured. Knowledge concerning such methods and procedures and the application thereof shall be compiled, in consultation with the regional states, by a select group of (a) experts from federal and regional-state organisms; and (b) persons affected. The Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) shall select the members of such group (BBodSchV Annex 1).”
Under the BBodSchG and BbodSchV laws, the scope of the FBU’s appointed tasks is extensive. Its main task is to compile knowledge concerning the application of recommended procedures and methods. This remit can be inferred from the fact that the standards and guidelines cited in Annex 1 of the regulation:
- (1) often contain various methods. In other words, the method of choice is to be determined (e.g. Cr (VI) spectral photometry in accordance with DIN 19734: 01.99 and DIN 38 405-24: 05.87)
- and (2) are not in all cases fully consistent with the investigation objective in question and thus require further methodological indications.
However, inasmuch as a mere compilation of application recommendations is likely to fall short of the mark, the FBU also looks into suitable modalities for their publication. The determination of methodological and procedural equivalence is also a main area of endeavor.
For reasons of legal certainty, it was necessary to limit the allowability, in Annex 1, of methods and procedures for the specific investigation goals to a relatively small number and choice of methods. But in the interest of nonetheless giving various traditions and investigation conditions their due, the regulation stipulates that equivalent methods and procedures may be employed. As this approach requires the investigation authorities in question to substantiate equivalence, it can lead to uncertainty and other problems in terms of implementing the regulation. Confirmation of equivalence by the working group will be helpful in this regard.
The FBU takes account of the soil and contaminated sites activities on the part of administrative bodies such as the Bund/Länder-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bodenschutz (LABO); the Länder-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Abfall (LAGA); and the Länder-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Wasser (LAWA), as well as the working groups Handbuch der Bodenuntersuchungen (soil investigation handbook) and Akkreditierung von Messstellen und Prüflaboratorien im Umweltbereich (accrediting of environmental measurement stations and test labs).
The three working groups that were formed to deal with the FBU’s myriad tasks elaborated a work program.
Probennahme von Böden (soil sampling) working group
This group, which is chaired by Dieter Horchler, concerns itself with soil and soil-air specimen sampling.
- To this end, the group compiles sampling methods from other disciplines such as construction site investigations, agricultural soils and forest soils (e.g. VDLUFA, VDI, BMVEL, studies by geological departments).
- Various soil-air measurement methods are available that allow for preliminary investigations and serve as a basis for decision as to which more extensive investigation measures should be implemented. The group makes recommendations concerning soil-air sampling methods.
- This also applies to in-situ soil-water extraction for which the group also makes methodological recommendations.
- The group provides feedback concerning on-site analytical methods that support sampling processes.
- Another major area of endeavor involves providing feedback concerning specific BBodSchV sampling methods, recommending quality assurance measures, and formulating definitions of unclear BbodSchV sampling related terms.
Verfahren und Methoden zur Quantifizierung von Stoffen in Böden (soil substance quantification procedures and methods) working group
This group, which is chaired by Andreas Paetz, concerns itself with the following:
- Elaboration of criteria for determining the equivalence and comparability of various soil investigation methods, including for individual cases.
- Evaluating the existing methods under BBodSchV Annex 1 and developing new methods.
- Providing feedback on BBodSchV Annex 1 alternative methods.
- Recommending procedures and methods for other priority contaminants, for purposes of standardization.
- Defining suitability criteria for on-site analytic methods.
- Compiling percolation water projection methods (investigation and projection methods)
Qualitätssicherung und Ergebnisunsicherheiten für Bodenuntersuchungsverfahren (quality assurance and outcome uncertainty for soil investigation methods) working group
This working group, which is chaired by Dr. Detlef Lück, concerns itself with the following:
- Compiling similar methods from other disciplines.
- Elaboration of assessment criteria for analytic outcome uncertainty related to the BbodSchV and other methods
- Compiling scenarios experienced by practitioners in connection with implementation of the BbodSchV.
- Development of criteria concerning the interpretation of outcome uncertainty in cases where the mandated soil values are exceeded.
- Development of criteria for the assessment of applicability, equivalence and comparability of soil investigation methods.
The Federal Soil Protection Act (BBodSchG), which came into effect on 1 March 1999, aims to sustainably protect or restore soil functions. The Federal Soil Protection and Contaminated Sites Regulation (BBodSchV), which is subordinate to the Federal Soil Protection Act and came into effect on 17 July 1999, governs the requirements for soil contamination investigations and assessments and for site cleanup and restriction measures, and also defines soil values. Annex 1 of the BBodSchV regulation sets forth the requirements for sampling, analyses and quality assurance for soil investigations.
New knowledge and technical advances in the field of analysis technology have spurred rapid change in investigation methods. During the consultation phase for the BBodSchV, repeated mention was made of stakeholders’ demands to the effect that advances in knowledge concerning soil related methodology should be taken into account, through across the board support for implementation of the BBodSchV. In view of the fact that support based on dynamic referencing (i.e. automatic updating of the regulation’s requirements in light of changes in the descriptions of the relevant methodologies) is unfeasible for reasons of legal certainty, this should be accomplished through use of a panel of experts.
To this end, the Fachbeirat Verfahren und Methoden für Bodenuntersuchungen (FBU; soil investigation advisory council) was officially established on 14 June 2000. The FBU avails itself of knowledge developed by other bodies. Methodological issues related to site investigations are handled by the Altlastenausschuß-Arbeitsgruppe Qualitätssicherung (ALA-AG QS; contaminated-site quality assurance working group), while those related to soil investigations are addressed by the Bund/Länder-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bodenschutz Arbeitskreis Bodenbelastungen (LABO AK 4; joint federal-regional state soil protection and soil contamination task force).
Methodological requirements concerning contaminated-site investigations for federal property are set by Oberfinanzdirektion (OFD) Hannover in consultation with the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing). Numerous other associations, business organizations, and scientific institutions also work on methodological issues concerning soil and site contamination investigations.
FBU studies are published by the UBA in a handbook (and updated in supplements) titled Berechnung von Prüfwerten zur Bewertung von Altlasten; some will also appear in the Bundesanzeiger. Against this backdrop, it was agreed that the handbook’s title should be changed to “Assessment of soils and contaminated sites – investigation methods and calculation of test values”. FBU studies are also posted on this website. The following FBU studies have been completed and are being prepared for publication:
Comparative assessment of BbodSchV Annex 1 procedures and methods with current versions
The remit of the FBU is to develop advanced methods and procedures for Annex 1 BBodSchV investigations for standards related purposes, and to continuously monitor compliance with these methods and procedures, in terms of both the relevant standards and actual practice. Five years following enactment of the BBodSchV, the FBU decided to compile and publish all findings to date, with the goal of (a) issuing application recommendations; and (b) reducing the growing implementation related discrepancies between the regulations’ inflexible methodological references on one hand, and continuing advances in knowledge and the new options opened up by changes in existing standards and the issuance of new ones on the other.
In connection with the revision of the BbodSchV regulation, the FBU is currently updating the Annex 1 BBodSchV methods and procedures. If they are incorporated into the amended regulation, the FBU will then expand the list of priority contaminants. The investigation methods will be published in the Bundesanzeiger, following which the relevant references will be posted on this website, where it will also be possible to access the relevant documents.
Statistical modeling of equivalence investigations in connection with the Federal Soil Protection Act (Bundes-Bodenschutzgesetz) using various measurement methods for inorganic and organic contaminant parameters
Given the fact that, prior to this study, no suitable method was available for equivalence assessments of analytic methods within the meaning of the Federal Soil Protection Regulation (BbodSchV), a statistical basis for validating the equivalence of chemical investigation methods through interlaboratory or in-house tests using equivalency tests was developed jointly by Gesellschaft für Qualitätsmanagement und Statistik mbH (quo-data GmbH) and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM). The outcomes of this effort could potentially serve as a basis for determining the equivalence of analytic methods using new variants on measurement-result determination. A summary of the relevant findings is slated for publication in the Bundesanzeiger.
Procedures for on site analyses that are governed by the Federal Soil Protection Regulation (BBodSchV)
Major advances have been made in recent years in on-site analytic methods for soil contamination investigations, and these methods are sometimes being used in ways that exceed the scope of the purposes stipulated by the regulation. The FBU has reviewed publications and methodology descriptions concerning on-site analytic methods and has issued a comprehensive statement of position containing general recommendations concerning method suitability and setting forth the requirements for use of these methods.
Soil investigations measurement uncertainty
The publications for which links are provided below describe the measurement uncertainty determination procedure, from the standpoint of regulatory implementation, and for calculations of lab specific measurement uncertainty.
Compilation and assessment of test sampling procedures for precautionary and follow-up soil protection; determination of measurement uncertainty for sampling
The aim of this project was – in connection with the process of amending the Federal Soil Protection Regulation (BBodSchV) – to make a contribution to compiling and assessing the soil sampling methods referred to in the regulation’s Annex 1, particularly in terms of measurement uncertainty. The report is composed of the following two sections:
Section 1: A critical analysis of recently updated soil sampling regulations and standards shows that there is currently no “document” that meets all requirements, including those related to quality assurance and measurement uncertainty assessment. There are discrepancies between application of the Bodenbeschaffenheit (soil property) investigation standard (particularly ISO 10381) and the geotechnischer Bereich (geotechnical domain) standard, in that the former standard is more consistent with the quality requirements concerning possible contamination during soil sampling. Regional-state specific as well as multi-regional state materials provide invaluable support when it comes to the application of standards and regulations. The relationships between extraction methods and sample quality, and measurement-uncertainty issues and quality assurance, as well as the various aspects of soil sample representativeness and heterogeneity cannot be satisfactorily determined for the chemical-test requirements.
Section 2: An assessment of field studies concerning measurement uncertainty determination for soil sampling methods yielded a mean value of us = 11 per cent, albeit with substantial scatter. A relationship between sampling uncertainty and individual sampling method elements or site factors cannot be established, probably due to the large number of parameters that come into play. There is not enough data statistical us data available to establish clearly defined sampling methods. In the case of surface samples that are used to determine the mean content of common analytes, in the absence of further site specific information it would be possible to provisionally equate sampling uncertainty with the mean value arrived at here. This value can be modified later on if heterogeneity information becomes available. However, additional inter-laboratory tests for the determination of soil sampling uncertainty are necessary, particularly for organic compounds.
Investigations concerning implementation and optimization of the BbodSchV regulation: Part 1
This expert report catalogues and evaluates the extraction methods that can be used to assess the availability of organic and inorganic soil contaminants. The report contains the following: a description of the development status of the relevant methods; a description of the necessary robustness tests that remain to be carried out; and validation and current activities aimed at determining gaps in current knowledge. The report discusses measurement methods for the current and potentially available content of inorganic and organic contaminants and quantifies the availability of inorganic and organic contaminants in terms of resorption availability (DIN 19738).