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Facts on german legislation and regulations on brownfields and contaminated sites


With the German Federal Soil Protection Act (BBodSchG) and German Federal Soil Protection Ordinance (BBodSchV) in 1998 a nationwide base for the assessment of soil contaminations has been established for the first time.
The ordinance includes threshold values demanding investigation or sanitation for various substances such as PAH, TPH, CHC, AHC, heavy metals and others.
If investigation or remediation actions on a site are required, liability is not limited to the person (or company) who caused the contamination. Those who own or possess the site or have owned it in the past can be held liable by the authorities as well, even if the polluter is still present and solvent.
There is no regulation like a liability relief for small businesses or even private persons. There is no funding of cleanup or investigation except for public authorities.

According to the BBodSchG, the obligors have a claim for compensation against each other. However, practical experience shows, that this has to be legally affirmed and executed in the particular case.
In practice, a claim for compensation and even more civil liability are difficult to be enforced.

Even contaminations with concentrations well below the above mentioned thresholds for remediation may cause additional costs for waste disposal and handling as well as for subsoil investigations.

Contaminations of building fabrics or hazardous substances in buildings are generally not subject of the environmental legislation.

Facts on german legislation and regulations on hazardous substances in buildings

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Rutschung Bahndamm
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