When soil pollution is suspected, the main problem lies in determining and finding the exact extent and seriousness of the pollution that is present.
It is therefore necessary to set in train a series of research actions to characterise and determine that pollution and to define the scope and nature of the recovery work that will be necessary based on the risk that is involved, as is set out in Royal Decree 9/2005, of 14th January (RD 9/2005), establishing the list of potentially soil contaminating activities and the criteria and standards for the declaration of polluted soils.
The management of polluted soil is a gradual, lengthy process, which starts from an initial stage in which little information is available and advances to stages in which greater knowledge is acquired of the problems surrounding pollution.
Each stage is associated with a particular type of study in which the information obtained is evaluated and a decision is taken as to whether to go ahead with the process, which makes it possible to optimise the technical and financial resources to be applied.
So, in view of the high degree of variation in the problems of soil pollution, with regard to its characteristics and possibilities for action and solution, it is possible that some steps of this process can be grouped together.
This management process has a four-stage framework, following the definition and nomenclature established by the European Environment Agency (EEA).