Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 649–662 | Cite as

Using multiple indices to evaluate scenarios for the remediation of contaminated land: the Porto Marghera (Venice, Italy) contaminated site

  • Andrea Critto
  • Paola Agostini


Background, aim, and scope

The management of contaminated sites requires the investigation of different involved aspects (from socioeconomic to risk and technological issues) and the presentation of useful and condensed information to decision makers. For this purpose, indices are more and more recognized as effective and valuable tools. This paper presents specific indices created within the DEcision Support sYstem for REhabilitation of contaminated sites (DESYRE).

Materials and methods

DESYRE is a software which aids decision making for the rehabilitation of a large contaminated site (i.e., megasite) by the creation and comparison of different rehabilitation alternatives. The software is composed of six modules, each dealing with a specific aspect of the remediation process, ending with the decision module. In this module, scenarios (i.e., suitable solutions for the rehabilitation of the contaminated site including selected land use, socioeconomic benefits, remediation costs, time span, environmental impacts, technology set/s, and residual risk) are created and evaluated by means of suitable indices. Nine indices cover the socioeconomic, risk, technological, cost, time, and environmental impact aspects. Mathematical algorithms are used to calculate these indices by taking into account data collected during the analytical steps of the DESYRE system and elaborated through the support of the spatial analysis, which is embedded in the system.


The case study of Porto Marghera, Venice, Italy is presented in order to document the effectiveness of developed indices in evaluating management solutions and presenting options to decision makers. For the purpose of this study, three different scenarios for the remediation of a part of the site of Porto Marghera (approximately 530 ha) are developed and compared. The three scenarios consider the industrial land use and deal with the contamination in soil caused by inorganic and organic compounds. The scenarios mainly differ for the number of the included remediation technologies and for the spatial distribution of the technologies on the considered area.


Indices results allow the user to more easily evaluate the advantages and limits of each scenario in order to select the most appropriate one. For instance, the risk indices allow the user to identify scenarios with good performance in reducing the extension of risk areas and the risk magnitude. Equally, the technological indices support the achievement of efficient remedial solutions characterized by a limited number of technologies, applied to extended areas and with high performance. The environmental impact index allows users to estimate the wider effects on the environment of the selected solutions, while the socioeconomic index is the result of social and economic investigations of the regional and local conditions, which ends with the identification of the best land use (e.g., the industrial one for the Porto Marghera area).


The proposed nine DESYRE indices provide more complete information to investigate suitable management solutions. DESYRE indices facilitate the definition of a consensus among stakeholders and the achievement of a widely shared solution for contaminated site management, even at larger sites, such as Porto Marghera.

Recommendations and perspectives

Further improvements to the system may be adopted, e.g., the possibility to aggregate results of the different assessments into one synthetic index per scenario or the inclusion of a Group Decision Making procedure.


Contaminated site Decision support systems Environmental impact Indices Integrated assessment Mega site Remediation technologies Risk management Scenario evaluation Socioeconomic 



The DESYRE project was funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Scientific Research and developed by the Venice Research Consortium with the support of the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice and Thetis S.p.A. The authors are grateful to the wide group of scientists involved in the development of specific modules and functions; in particular, special thanks go to Antonio Marcomini (scientific supervision); Claudio Carlon (project management and coordination); Silvio Giove and Stefano Silvoni (multicriteria analysis); Manuela Samiolo and Gian Antonio Petruzzelli (technology selection); Nadia Nadal and Lisa Pizzol (risk assessment); Ilaria Bazzanella, Stefano Foramiti, and Luca Dentone (GIS application); and Stefano Soriani, Ilda Mannino, Gisella Facchinetti, and Antonio Mastroleo (socioeconomic and fuzzy analysis).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity Ca’ Foscari of VeniceVeniceItaly
  2. 2.Consorzio Venezia RicercheVeniceItaly

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