Environmental science and pollution research international

POP-contaminated sites from HCH production in Sabiñánigo, Spain.

PMID 23322412


In 2009, hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) isomers (α-HCH, β-HCH, and γ-HCH [lindane]) were listed as persistent organic pollutants (POP) in the Stockholm Convention. Accordingly, the legacy of HCH/lindane production with the associated large HCH waste deposits has become recognized as an issue of global concern and is addressed in the implementation of the Convention. The current paper gives an overview of the major contaminated sites from lindane production of the INQUINOSA Company. This company operated from 1975 to 1988 in the city of Sabiñánigo, Spain. HCH production resulted in the production of approximately 115,000 tonnes of waste isomers which were mainly dumped in two unlined landfills. These two landfill sites, together with the former production site, are recognized sources of environmental pollution. Assessment and remediation activities at these sites are described. A dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) contaminated inter alia with HCH isomers, benzene, chlorobenzenes, and chlorophenols as the main contaminants and an associated contaminated groundwater plume have been discovered at both landfill/dumpsites and at the former production site. The approximately 4,000 t of DNAPLs constitute a serious risk for the environment due to the proximity of the Gállego River. Since 2004, more than 20 tonnes of this DNAPL has been extracted using "pump and treat" techniques. The Aragon Regional Government and the Spanish Environmental Ministry are taking action, focusing on the treatment of DNAPL and on the transfer of the large quantities of solid POP wastes to a new landfill. A range of laboratory tests has been performed in order to plan the aquifer remediation.