The status of national soil contamination is being examined through a soil monitoring network operated by the Ministry of Environment and soil contamination investigations carried out by local governments.

Soil Monitoring Network

A soil monitoring network has been installed at approximately 2,000 locations nationwide for each of 16 land categories (forests, fields, paddies, etc.) and three purposes (background contamination point, contamination influence point, and point of connection to other media). The degree of contamination is measured in terms of a total of 21 items (eight heavy metals, 12 standard items, and pH).

Results of Soil Contamination Determination by the Soil Monitoring Network

All 2012 measurements were below the soil contamination limits. Fluorine, at 56.6% of the warning limit, had the highest measurement relative to the limit. All items were below the warning limit at all points of the soil monitoring network for the first time in 2010, with the same results obtained for 2011 and 2012.

Soil Contamination Investigations

Soil contamination investigations are carried out by local governments in at least 2,000 locations each year in industrial complexes and factory areas, factory wastewater inflow areas, areas where ores and scrap metals are stored or used, and other areas where soil contamination is a concern. Any area whose results exceed soil contamination warning limits are required to undergo a detailed soil investigation, and contamination sources are required to purify the contaminated soil. The soil contamination investigation aims to actively identify and purify contaminated areas and, unlike the fixed monitoring network operated by the Ministry of Environment, is carried out at different locations each year.

Investigation of soil contamination in 2,586 locations throughout the country in 2012 indicated that soil contamination warning limits were exceeded in 55 locations (2.13%). Among these 55 locations were 14 areas associated with waste and recycling, 14 areas where ores and scrap metals are stored or used, 10 traffic-associated facilities, and six mine areas. In terms of contaminants, the Zn limit was exceeded in 19 locations, followed by TPH in 16 and Cu in 11 locations. The most frequently exceeded limit, Zn, was usually exceeded in areas where ores and scrap metals are stored or used.

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Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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