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From landfills to landscapes—Nature-based solutions for water management taking into account legacy contamination

  • Hale, Sarah|Folde, Marja S. | Melby, Unni H. | Sjödahl, Elisabeth | Smebye, Andreas | Oen, Amy

Nature-based solutions (NBS) can be used in combination with the reopening of piped rivers to support area development. In certain cases, piped rivers can run through disused landfills. This presents a complicating factor because landfills provide the possibility for river water to be contaminated by waste. In Skien municipality, close to Oslo, Norway, NBS are being considered as part of a potential reopening of the Kjørbekk stream. A 4-km stretch of the stream is contained in an aging pipe infrastructure that is buried under two disused landfills. The pipe infrastructure does not have the physical capacity to cope with an increase in precipitation brought about by current climate change, and in certain areas, the pipe has started to leak. This means that surface water runoff that cannot be accommodated by the pipe, as well as water that leaks from the pipe, can become contaminated by the waste in the disused landfill. Furthermore, the water can be transported with the stream course to the final recipient, taking the contamination with it. Reopening the stream and providing new water pathways can alleviate these problems, but it must be carried out so that contamination is not allowed to spread. This case study reveals how certain NBS that focus on reducing the amount of water in contact with pollutants, reducing the amount of particle spreading, remediating contaminated water, and remediating contaminated soil could be implemented at the site and function as a catalyst for an incremental city development

Hale, S.Folde, M., & Melby, U., & Sjödahl, E., & Smebye, A., & Oen, A. 2021. 'From landfills to landscapes—Nature-based solutions for water management taking into account legacy contamination'. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. Early View. Available: https://doi.org/10.1002/ieam.4467