Soil in focus3

Soils in focus :3  IYS2015

With the growth of cities around the globe, soils are more and more influenced by the urban and industrial environment. Technosols are soils that include all kinds of materials made, exposed or transported by human activity that otherwise would not occur under natural conditions at that specific location of the Earth’s surface. The urban soil is exposed to pavement, buildings and pollution. Profile development is often very limited, except for archaeological dumps.

The soil shown here is from under the city of Hilversum. Under 73 cm the original soil, a sandy soil from former heathland, is visible. This soil has been exposed to prolonged waste water infiltration that was channelled to these heathlands in former times (since 1860), when it was still at the edge of the border of the city. This has caused pollution with, amongst other, heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Between about 50 and 73 cm in the profile, artefacts are visible. The layer consists mainly of poorly to non-degradable materials from a former waste dump that was placed on top of the former infiltration fields.

The first half meter of the profile is the result of the expansion of the city of Hilversum in early 20th century, when the soil was covered with construction sand and pavement, streets and houses. Between 2003 and 2006 the soils in this part of the city were remediated. The profile is an archive of past uses and different phases in society. It reflects the development of environmental awareness and perception of community health.