Contaminated sites: Information for specialists

Careless handling of environmentally hazardous substances and wastes over many decades has left its mark on Switzerland's substratum. The country is now cleaning up the legacy of the environmental misdeeds of the past.

Today, there are around 38'000 polluted sites nationwide. These include around 4'000 contaminated sites, which in the short or long term pose a hazard to human health and the environment through the release of harmful substances. As this risk is not acceptable over the long term, the federal government has called for this undesirable legacy of past practices to be neutralized by 2040. In the remediation of contaminated sites, the federal authorities are guided by specific objectives concerning the protection of human health and by the extent of the hazard posed to environmental assets such as soil, air and water.


How are contaminated sites to be handled? The remediation of the "sins of yesterday", is not an exact science. Rather it is an after-the-fact corrective fraught with many imponderables and surprises.

Remediation of contaminated sites

A large number of polluted sites can only be handled in steps for reasons of personnel, time and money. In principle, individual sites should be approached first at a global and then at an increasingly detailed level in order that those among the approximately 38'000 polluted sites requiring remediation or monitoring can be earmarked.

Financing remediation

Who foots the bill for the investigation, monitoring and remediation of contaminated sites? Can financial assistance be provided by the federal government?

Last modification 07.07.2021

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