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Fostering the Remediation & Redevelopment of
Manufactured Gas Plant Sites

Inge De Vrieze


Inge De Vrieze

Inge De Vrieze, Project Manager, Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij (OVAM)


Inge De Vrieze graduated in 2001 as an industrial engineer in Ghent, Belgium. After working a period of time in an engineering company specialised in the execution of projects in the environmental sector, she started since 2005 to work for the Flemish Government, more specifically at OVAM. OVAM stands for Public Waste Agency of Flanders and is responsible for waste management and soil remediation in Flanders (the nothern part of Belgium).  In accordance with the legislation on public procurement the OVAM carried out soil investigations and soil remediation. Both small cleanups for innocent private owners as well as projects concerning hundreds of plots are carried out. Inge De Vrieze has eight years of experience as a project manager.


Presentation Title

From Contaminated MGP’s Toward Meaningful Places: Reactivating Soil, Land and Cities

Inge De Vrieze, Project Manager, Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij (OVAM)

Co-Authors: Kristel De Clercq, Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij (OVAM) and Karen Van Geert, Arcadis


In the course of industrialization in the 19th century, manufactured gas plant sites were built in almost every larger town in Europe and the United States. The innovation of making inflammable gas for lighting brought safety in the streets and reduced the occurrence of fire by replacing candles and oil lamps.  But the activities often led to severe soil and groundwater contamination. This contamination has a serious impact on the possible redevelopment of these sites. Sites that are often in a central location in the city. Additionally they are important reminders of the industrial history and have often contributed to growth of the city and the flourishing of its economy. Re-activating and remediating these sites needs to integrate this socio-economical history.   A remediation of contaminated soil doesn’t only result in land that can be re-used and re-developed. When the remediation is done in an integrated way, acknowledging the socio-cultural relevance of a site, these locations can regain their importance on the city wide scale and can trigger the revival of a whole neighbourhood or district.   As an introduction, the presentations will bring an update of  how all former manufactured gasworks sites in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium,  are tackled.  What is the current state? What are the lessons learned? How are we going to proceed to reach the finish?   After the introduction, the focus will be on how a soil remediation can reactivating soil and land by showcasing some redeveloped MGP’s and the lessons learned.   A series of conditions and challenges are presented:  

  • What is intelligent and circular remediation (and redevelopment)? 
  • What tools do we have to remediate a site within a CE   
  • How can we introduce circular thinking in soil remediation processes?  
  • How can we connect a soil remediation project and redevelopment of an area to the surrounding urban/rural ecosystem  
  • Combining historical and socio-cultural aspects into site redevelopments? 
  • It is imperative to include a social-cultural sensitivity in remediation projects? 
  • What are the conditions for this? 
  • What about the financial implications?   
  • What is the role of the (local) government, owners, developers?