Activities at the federal level

Soil protection and contaminated-site remediation fall to the federal government under the BBodSchG law and BBodSchV regulation, and are enforced by the various regional states. However, the federal government is also a property owner, in which capacity it incurs the consequent rights and duties.

Federally owned properties

The federal government is one of Germany’s largest property owners. As with all property, such ownership entails specific rights and duties. The government’s property portfolio was managed by the Bundesvermögensverwaltung from 1950 to 2004, and thereafter by the Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben (BImA).

The BImA agency manages the federal government’s property portfolio under its own responsibility, and in particular government buildings. The agency decides which measures are to be undertaken and provides the budgetary resources for them. Pursuant to the Ressortvereinbarung agreement between the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Construction and Urban development (BMVBS) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (Bundesministerium der Finanzen), building authorities carry out the relevant measures.

Building authorities’ sphere of responsibility

Construction in connection with federally owned properties is carried out under the responsibility of federal and regional-state building authorities (hereinafter referred to as “building authorities”). The main office of the Bund für Boden- und Grundwasserschutz at the Oberfinanzdirektion Niedersachsen acts as a clearing house for such projects, on behalf of employees from the following entities: regional-state building authorities; the Bundesamt für Infrastruktur, Umweltschutz und Dienstleistungen der Bundeswehr (German army office of infrastructure, environmental protection, and general services) and for the BImA.

A document containing advice on soil and groundwater remediation planning and execution titled Arbeitshilfe Boden- und Grundwasserschutz (AH BoGwS) is intended for use within the sphere of responsibility of the BMVBS and the German Defense Ministry, in accordance with the Richtlinien für die Durchführung von Bauaufgaben des Bundes (RBBau) guidelines and the Baufachlichen Ergänzungsbestimmungen zu den Vorläufigen Verwaltungsvorschriften regulations, under section 44 of the Bundeshaushaltsordnung (ZBau) regulation.

The purpose of the AH BoGwS document is to lay down standard nationwide procedures for dealing with suspected contaminated sites and contamination, from identification right through to any necessary cleanup measures that are prescribed by law. These procedures take into account the principles of economic efficiency and budgetary restraint, within the meaning of the Bundeshaushaltsordnung (Federal Budget Code) and in accordance with the principle of sustainability.