UNEP Report ‘Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland’ Published

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WISenvironmental participated in the United Nations Environment Programme programme to independently assess the environmental impact of oil-field contamination in the Ogoni Region of south-west Nigeria. The team was managed by Rob Holmes. The over-riding objective of WISenvironmental’s task was to identify the range of possible full-scale remediation technologies available commercially for oil-contaminated soils and sediments and to present their indicative costs, resource requirements, operational footprint and possible output specifications. Site visits were carried out at the invitation of the operators by the project team process engineers to three locations in Belgium to witness and assess the suitability of soil washing, bioremediation and thermal desorption operations.

The final report ‘Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland’ was published in late-2011 by UNEP. Over a 14-month period the UNEP team examined more than 200 locations, surveyed 122km of pipeline rights of way, reviewed more than 5,000 medical records and engaged more than 23,000 people at local community meetings. Detailed soil contamination investigations were conducted at 69 sites and more than 4,000 samples, including groundwater from wells drilled for the study, were analysed.

The findings in the report underline that there are, in a significant number of locations, serious threats to human health from contaminated drinking water  and there are concerns over the viability and productivity of ecosystems. The study provides the government, stakeholders and the international community with invaluable baseline information on the scale of the challenge and priorities for actions in terms of clean-up and remediation going forward.

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