A closed landfill, Treuenbrietzen was remediated by excavation of the landfill body and transfer of the waste to other landfills.
The landfill Treuenbrietzen was operated from 1973 till 1998. The landfill has an area of 3.8 ha and a volume of 200,000 m3. Municipal and construction waste, household-type commercial waste, soil excavation and industrial waste were disposed. A geological barrier or a bottom sealing system did not exist. The leachate of the landfill caused groundwater pollution, thus remediation measures were necessary. The municipality as well as the landfill owner evaluated the possible remediation methods: surface sealing system vs. excavation. The advantage of excavation is that aftercare costs disappear. The excavation included the general elimination of the pollutant source, so the municipality decided for excavation in spite of higher investment costs in comparison to the sealing system. The excavation measures included: - Installation of an access road - Construction site equipment - On-site analysis of waste - Excavation and loading of waste - Transport to the landfills Vorketzin and Schöneiche - Special waste treatment for barrels of hazardous waste, found in the landfill - Final sampling and analysis of soil beneath the landfill. Totally, 299,677 t waste were excavated and transported to other landfills. These landfills have a bottom sealing system pursuant to the German Landfill Ordinance, protecting the hydrosphere. The effect of the measure was proven by groundwater observation: The pollution, namely volatile chlorinated hydrocarbons, decreased quickly.

Resources needed

The financial resource needed for the remediation measures was 8,300,779 €. The measure was funded by ERDF with 4,150,390 €.

Evidence of success

The excavated waste is deposited on a landfill with a bottom sealing system in order to prevent contamination of the groundwater and soil. The risk for the environment of the landfill Treuenbrietzen was eliminated. Groundwater quality improved after the measure.

Difficulties encountered

Representative sampling and classifying the waste was difficult as disposed waste was quite heterogeneous. Although the area is free of waste now, it is still lying fallow. A useful land use is still not found. Some areas are used for motorcycle racing; at other areas natural succession occurs.

Potential for learning or transfer

On the territories of the EU member states about 500,000 landfills exist. For the landfills in the scope of the EU landfill directive, the directive gives only a non-obligatory, very general recommendation for remediation measures. There is no information about remediation of landfills which predate the EU landfill directive (> 90% of the landfills) included in the directive; neither exits a guideline or handbook about this problem on European level. This good practice -the excavation of the waste- shows an alternative to the installation of a common sealing system. It may be applicable particularly for landfills containing valuable resources or high-calorific wastes in the landfill body or in areas where land is scarce. Reloading and depositing the waste on another landfill is just appropriate when the other landfill has higher technical standards in terms of pollution control. In the case of Treuenbrietzen the focus was on the prevention of groundwater pollution and regaining land.

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Main institution
Landesamt für Umwelt Brandenburg
Brandenburg, Germany (Deutschland)
Start Date
April 2003
End Date
December 2003


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