Cuneo, Italy
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Montoneri E.,University of Turin | Tomasso L.,University of Turin | Colajanni N.,University of Turin | Zelano I.,University of Turin | Barberis R.,ARPA Piemonte
International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2014

The objective of the present paper was to investigate the potential of urban wastes derived soluble bioorganic substances (SBO) to perform as auxiliaries for enhanced washing of urban soil contaminated by industrial activities. The second objective was to show how the SBO could be used for remediating the environmental impact caused by industrial activities and, at the same time, be compatible with the real-world situation demanding zero waste processes. The SBO, isolated from four urban biowastes, were characterized for their lipophilic/hydrophilic (LH) and aliphatic/aromatic C ratios, and for their surface activity properties. Soil, containing about 0.45 % w/w polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), was sampled from a dismissed coal gasification site. The efficiency of the SBO for washing the contaminated soil was investigated. The most lipophilic SBO, in spite of the highest surface activity, was the least efficient. The products having lower LH, poorer surface activity, but higher concentration of aromatic C were more efficient. All SBO allowed developing a two steps process. This comprised soil washing, and the recovery and chemical treatment of the washing solution, to yield a PAHs-SBO precipitate and the clean water phase to recycle to further soil washing. Data were obtained under the same experimental conditions using Triton X-100 commercial surfactant. The results indicated that, although the commercial surfactant is the most efficient in the soil washing step, it does not allow removal of PAHs from the recovered washing solution. On the contrary, 95-99 % PAHs removal from the recovered SBO washing solutions is attained. © 2013 Islamic Azad University (IAU).

Blengini G.A.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Blengini G.A.,CNR Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering | Brizio E.,A.R.P.A. Piemonte | Cibrario M.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Genon G.,Polytechnic University of Turin
Resources, Conservation and Recycling | Year: 2011

Given the booming of bioenergy plants under construction in Piedmont, in Northern Italy, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was used in order to assist public decision-makers during the evaluation of new bioenergy projects. Local administrators are in fact worried that public incentives granted to bioenergy producers, regardless of the overall environmental performance, might not encourage technological innovation and eco-efficiency, or bring unwanted indirect environmental effects. A detailed LCA of bioenergy production from dedicated crops (maize, sorghum, triticale and miscanthus) and manure through anaerobic digestion and combined heat and power generation was carried out. The LCA model was particularly focused on the end-of-life of digestate and site-specific data related to the impact of adopted energy conversion technologies. It was confirmed that bioenergy is not automatically synonymous with sustainable energy, as the differences in terms of environmental performance can be remarkable. EROI (Energy Return on Investment) index was estimated to be 3-5. The potential in terms of GHG saving depends on several factors and it is heavily influenced by the reference non-renewable energy to be substituted. End-of-life of digestate was found to be crucial for acidification and eutrophication, but also for GHG emissions. Finally, particulates equivalent emissions were found to be very large in comparison to modern natural gas power plants. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Biasioli M.,University of Turin | Fabietti G.,ARPA Piemonte | Barberis R.,ARPA Piemonte | Ajmone-Marsan F.,University of Turin
Chemosphere | Year: 2012

Soil diffuse contamination is one the major soil threats, especially in regions with a high population density and strong industrialization. In this work agricultural, natural, and periurban soils of an Italian Province (858km2) were sampled and analyzed. Overall, 140 samples were taken at two depths and analyzed for 10 trace elements, 13 rare earth elements and for organic contaminants (PCBs, PCDDs and PAHs). The aim of this work was to obtain an appraisal of soil diffuse contamination in a large Italian Province by applying and validating available tools to quantify background values and evaluate the intensity of contamination.Data were processed, background values estimated, and enrichment and contamination factors calculated. For some contaminants the results allowed a discrimination between natural or anthropic-derived contaminants. Some contaminants revealed clear trends of enrichment in function of the land use (in particular for periurban soils). REEs were found to mostly derive from parent material.The results obtained in this study show the importance of merging the quantification of contaminants with the elaboration of indices of contamination. These require an accurate quantification of background values to be able to discriminate the anthropic contribution. Enrichment factor resulted to be more accurate than contamination factor but it cannot be applied to organic contaminants and requires a careful selection of the reference element to be adopted. This study revealed that some contaminants - Sb, Sn, Pb, and organic contaminants - can be used as tracers of diffuse contamination, and should be therefore always included in similar studies. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Fabietti G.,University of Turin | Biasioli M.,University of Turin | Barberis R.,A.R.P.A. Piemonte | Ajmone-Marsan F.,University of Turin
Journal of Soils and Sediments | Year: 2010

Background, aim, and scope Diffuse soil contamination has often been neglected in scientific literature, as most studies focus on contaminants from point-sources (either of industrial or agricultural origin). However, soil pollution from diffuse sources is recognized as one of the major soil threats by the EU Soil Thematic Strategy. In fact, some pollutants are nowadays ubiquitarious in the soil system, and they have to be considered for the implementation of environmental legislation, the definition of clean-up values in remediation activities and, more generally, for a sustainable management of rural areas. In the literature large scale studies on diffuse contamination are few and scattered and often do not consider a wide range of contaminants, the effect of land use, the vertical variability and the potential natural contribution. Aim of this work was to provide an overview of the diffuse soil contamination on a regional scale for a large set of contaminants. Soil inorganic (Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb, Cu, Zn) and organic contaminants (polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins(PCDD), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as well as other soil general parameters were investigated on a 18×18 km grid covering a whole Italian region heavily industrialized and intensively cultivated. Soils were sampled at different depths both for natural-undisturbed soil and for agricultural-plow soil. Differences in the trends of investigated contaminants, as a consequence of land use, vertical variability, natural or geogenic origin, relationships among contaminants, and with main soil properties, were explored by means of enrichment factors, bi- and multi-variate statistics. Materials and methods The sampling scheme of this study is based on a systematic 18×18 km grid covering the whole region. Overall, 43 monitoring sites located at the center of each cell were sampled. At each site, five individual core samples within a 10×10 m area were taken at different depths for natural-undisturbed soil (topsoil 0-10 cm, subsoil 10-30 cm) and for agricultural-plow soil (topsoil Ap horizon, subsoil 20 cm below the Ap lower limit). Samples were processed for general soil properties as well as for organic (PAHs, PCBs, PCDDs/dibenzofurans (DFs)) and inorganic (Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb, Cu, Zn) contaminants analyses (aqua regia digestions). Contaminants were detected after extraction by means of ICP-MS and GCMS. Statistical analysis was conducted using the software SPSS 13 (SPSS) and Minitab 15 (MINITAB). Data were geographically managed and processed with the Arcview 3.2 (ESRI, CA, USA) GIS software. Results Organic contaminants such as PCDDs were found to accumulate in natural areas while inorganics mostly concentrate in agricultural soils, confirming the presence of important phenomena of long-range diffuse contamination for the first and short-range for the latter. Soil use was also confirmed to be a major parameter in influencing the type, degree, and distribution of contaminants. Vertical variability was found to be high for organic contaminants and for Pb, suggesting their main anthropogenic origin, while other elements such as Cr and Ni appeared to be more related to the natural background. Data were compared with those from soils of a large industrial city present in the area, confirming the strong enrichment of the urban environment with respect to some contaminants such as metals, PCBs, and PAHs. Other contaminants such as PCDD/DFs showed lower differences, confirming their diffuse and almost ubiquitarious pollution. Discussion and conclusions Even if natural soils in this study are mostly located far from major sources of contamination, notable differences appeared when compared to agricultural areas. In particular, the enrichment in the concentrations of organic contaminants such as PCDDs in natural areas and of inorganics in agricultural soils confirm the presence of important phenomena of longrange diffuse contamination for the first and short-range for the latter, which appeared also to be related to agricultural activities. Contaminants like PCDDs, PCBs, PAHs, and Pb presented high vertical variability, confirming their anthropogenic origin and strong affinity to soil organic matter, while others appear to be more related to the natural background. The comparison of data with those from soils within a large-industrial city present in the study area confirms the strong enrichment of the urban environment with respect to some contaminants such as metals, PCBs, and PAHs. Other contaminants such as PCDD/DFs showed lower differences confirming their diffuse and ubiquitarious pollution. Recommendations and perspectives Soil diffuse contamination revealed to be an important source for some contaminants that appear to distribute over a large scale. The type of land use strongly influences the distribution of pollutants in soils, by diluting them in depth (plowing in agricultural areas) or concentrating contaminants in the surface (natural areas or meadows). Data provided in this study constitute an important dataset of the soil environmental quality on a large scale that can be used for the development of guidelines for soil management, the definition of local clean-up values, and the implementation of risk assessment procedures. © Springer-Verlag 2009.

Morelli M.,ARPA Piemonte | Piana F.,CNR Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources | Mallen L.,ARPA Piemonte | Nicolo G.,ARPA Piemonte | Fioraso G.,CNR Institute of Geosciences and Earth Resources
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2011

SAR interferometry based on Permanent Scatterers (PS-InSAR™) is used here to study the present crustal mobility of a large area of NW Italy, in the Piemonte region. Thirty-eight satellite scenes (ERS SAR), taken from May 1992 to January 2001, were analysed for detecting more than 2. million PS on the study area. Continuous velocity surface maps (Iso-Kinematic Maps: IKM) were obtained from geo-statistical and spatial cluster techniques (Hot Spot analysis) of PS "short-period" data, to identify relative ground motions and to compare them with "long-period" tectonic mobility trends, i.e. those inferred at regional scale over geological times (some million years). The comparison was made by individuation of homogeneous kinematic areas, represented in the IKM, and characterization of the boundaries between them (Iso-Kinematic Boundaries: IKB). The IKB were used as tools to asses if the PS-InSAR data on present-day crustal mobility could fit with the distribution of real tectonic structures or field geological elements. IKM were drawn for uplifting geological sectors of Piemonte (Maritime Alps, Gran Paradiso, Langhe) where moderate to very low seismicity is recorded, and gravitational instabilities of rock mass on mountain slopes are widespread. The land sectors have been chosen in order to test the suitability of IKM in very different geo-morphological conditions. Different types of correspondence between the IKM and the geological kinematic trend were found:. -a first type in which the kinematic trend of short-period (a decade of years, i.e. the PS-InSAR detection time span) is in agreement with a long-period tectonic trend (some million years) and seem to be driven by well known faults subparallel to the IKB. These kinematic trends can be hidden by the slope movement due to gravitational instabilities;-a second type in which the kinematic trend of short-period does not strictly correspond to the long-period trend, but can be considered as minor-order, uplifting-subsidence cycles, even if in contrast with the long-period kinematic trend. Alternatively, the short-period kinematic trends could reflect the action of deep-seated geological forces or structures, not yet known or inferable (at least with the recorded PS-InSAR velocities) on the basis of the available geological data and models. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Piazzalunga A.,University of Milan Bicocca | Anzano M.,University of Milan Bicocca | Collina E.,University of Milan Bicocca | Lasagni M.,University of Milan Bicocca | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Aerosol Science | Year: 2013

The use of residential wood combustion represents an important renewable energy source, but it contributes in a considerable way to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) concentration in urban as well as in rural sites. Moreover, recent studies pointed out wood burning as an important source of PAH.In the present work, the influence of wood combustion on PM was studied, investigating its contribution to the carbonaceous PM fraction and to benzo(a)pyrene (B[a]P) and polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorodibenzofurans (PCDD/F) concentrations, using levoglucosan as a marker. PM10 samples were collected daily for six months in two sites located in Piemonte (Northern Italy): Torino and Susa. Composite monthly samples were chemically characterized, analyzing the concentrations of levoglucosan, B[a]P, PCDD/Fs, organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon, major anions and cations, and metals.PM and OC concentrations were almost twice in Torino with respect to Susa, while levoglucosan and B[a]P concentrations were almost comparable at the two sites. Therefore, wood combustion affects more Susa than Torino. Concentrations of B[a]P and levoglucosan were highly correlated in both sites. Using the macro tracer method and the emission factors reported in literature, the wood combustion percentage contribution to B[a]P concentration was estimated and resulted as the main source in both sites. The levoglucosan to soluble potassium ratio was higher in Torino with respect to Susa, indicating that combustion plants with different efficiency are used at the two sites. PCDD/F concentrations were higher in Torino than in Susa. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Panepinto D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Genon G.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Brizio E.,ARPA Piemonte | Russolillo D.,Fondazione Per lAmbiente Teobaldo Fenoglio ONLUS
Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy | Year: 2013

In Italy and many European countries, energy production from biomass is encouraged by strong economic subsidies so that biomass energy plants are getting large diffusion. Nevertheless, it is necessary to define the environmental compatibility taking into account global parameters as well as environmental impacts at regional and local scales coming from new polluting emissions. The environmental balances regarding new energy plants are of primary importance within very polluted areas such as Northern Italy where air quality limits are systematically exceeded, in particular for PM10, NO 2, and ozone. The paper analyzes the renewable energy scenario relating to manure anaerobic digestion and biogas production for the Province of Cuneo, N-W Italy, and the environmental sustainability of the possible choices. The study is focused on energy producibility, heat and power, nitrogen oxides and ammonia emissions, GHG (greenhouse gases) balances dealing also with indirect releases of CH4 and N2O, as well as emissions due to energy crops production. The most important conclusion that can be drawn is that the production of renewable energy from anaerobic digestion could cover up to 13 % of the Province electricity consumption, but sustainability in terms of CO2 emissions can be reached only through an overriding use of agricultural waste products (manure and by-products instead of energy crops) and cogeneration of thermal energy at disposal; the application of the best available techniques to waste gas cleaning, energy recovery, and digestate chemical-physical treatments allows positive emissive balances. © 2013 Springer-Verlag.

Magnoni M.,ARPA Piemonte
EPJ Web of Conferences | Year: 2012

The atmospheric re-suspension of radionuclides is a well-known phenomenon that consists in the re-injection into the atmosphere of previously deposited radioactivity. The process is driven by the action of wind on surfaces and can act as an additional source of radiation exposure by inhalation, after the deposition has finished. It is thus defined as the re-suspension factor, a parameter K generally considered as a time depending function and defined as the ratio of Ca, the volumetric air activity concentration (Bq m -3) and I0 (Bq m-2), the radioactivity deposition at time zero. The re-suspension factor concept is very useful in radioprotection in order to estimate the inhalation of radionuclides re-suspended from contaminated surfaces when direct atmospheric measurements are lacking or difficult to perform. However, the choice of the proper values of K is usually not a simple task, being quite site-specific and related to the meteorological, geomorphologic and environmental characteristics of the area to be studied. Moreover, several investigations showed clearly that the values of K are a decreasing function of time. For that reason, K values span several orders of magnitude: typical values in the range 10-5-10 -10 m-1 are reported in literature for different environmental conditions and time elapsed since the deposition event. The current available models for the re-suspension factor are based on empirical formulas whose parameters are highly site dependent and cannot easily be related to some physical quantity. In this paper a simple physical model for the re-suspension factor is proposed and tested with available environmental radioactivity data (137Cs), collected since 1986 (Chernobyl fallout). The new model not only allows a satisfactory description of the experimental data like even the current empirical models do, but it is also able to connect the K values to quantities with a physical meaning (such as, for example a diffusion-dispersion coefficient) and that are related to processes underlying resuspension. © Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences -SIF, 2012.

Oberto E.,ARPA Piemonte | Milelli M.,ARPA Piemonte | Pasi F.,Consorzio LAMMA | Gozzini B.,CNR Institute for Biometeorology
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences | Year: 2012

The demand for verification of numerical models is still very high, especially for what concerns the operational Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) used, among others, for evaluating the issuing of warnings to the population. In this study, a comparative verification of the QPF, predicted by two operational Limited Area Models (LAMs) for the Italian territory is presented: COSMO-I7 (developed in the framework of the COSMO Consortium) and WRF-NMM (developed at NOAA-NCEP). The observational dataset is the precipitation recorded by the high-resolution non-GTS rain gauges network of the National Civil Protection Department (NCPD) over two years (2007-2008). Observed and forecasted precipitation have been treated as areal quantity (areal average of the values accumulated in 6 and 24 h periods) over the 102 "warning areas", defined by the NCPD both for administrative and hydrological purposes. Statistics are presented through a series of conventional indices (BIAS, POD and POFD) and, in addition, the Extreme Dependency Score (EDS) and the Base Rate (BS or 1-BS) have been used for keeping into account the vanishing of the indices as the events become rare. Results for long-period verification (the whole 2 yr) with increasing thresholds, seasonal trend (3 months period), diurnal error cycle and error maps, are presented. Results indicate that WRF has a general tendency of QPF overestimation for low thresholds and underestimation for higher ones, while COSMO-I7 tends to overestimate for all thresholds. Both models show a seasonal trend, with a bigger overestimation during summer and spring, while during autumn and winter the models tend to be more accurate. © 2012 Author(s).

Panepinto D.,Polytechnic University of Turin | Brizio E.,ARPA Piemonte | Genon G.,Polytechnic University of Turin
Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy | Year: 2014

In order to improve the air quality in some very critical areas in Europe, it is required to limit the contaminant flux coming from different sources (thermal and industrial plants, transport systems, cars, and other technological apparatus). This limitation in many cases corresponds to important investment costs, and normally to a substantial increase in the operative costs; but, from the other side, by the intervention on the emitted pollutant loads it can be obtained a condition of better air quality, with consequent lower externality costs, chiefly with reference to the exposed population. By comparing the two aspects of increasing costs, and in particular the slope of the increasing trend, and from the other side the improvement in air quality, it is possible to identify as a compromise a convenient definition of the optimal intervention that must be realized, and it is possible to establish the performances that must be obtained, by arriving to an acceptable air quality with a sustainable cost. This strategy of identification of the optimal point between these two opposite trends has been illustrated in the present work, and some practical examples of implementation of different limitation strategies and consequent environmental results are presented; these results concern different scale solutions, and different geographic situations. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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