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Conventional remediation-monitoring programs, i.e. analysis of changing contaminant concentration in soil or groundwater with time, become overly complicated when several point sources exist in close proximity. Dilution, sorption and other physical redistribution processes of the contaminants introduce further complexity to the overall mass balance and hampers efficient assessment. These limitations are key motivations both for EU’s Soil Thematic Strategy and for the present Call (ENV.2007.3.1.2.2). It is the overarching objective of isoSoil to provide a new and complimentary approach, the firm establishment of the isotopic analytical dimension of CSIA, to facilitate more precise and reliable site-specific characterization of soil contamination.
Concentration monitoring as a concept, i.e. establishment of a mass balance for the contaminant in a certain area, is of extensive nature. It depends on estimates of the amount of chemical present with respect to space and time. A serious challenge for concentration monitoring is that concentration analysis may be insufficient to distinguish between degradation and e.g. dilution, volatilization or migration.
The isoSoil concept is to firmly establish the molecular-isotopic composition (MIC) as revealed by CSIA as a novel, user friendly and powerful tool for both degradation monitoring and source apportionment of organic contaminants in soils.
Research over the past decade has clearly established that elucidation of the MIC by CSIA of environmental contaminants can provide powerful quantitative information regarding degradation reactions and the pollutant sources (degradation: e.g. Sherwood-Lollar et al., 1999; Zwank et al., 2005; sources: e.g. Lichtfouse and Eglinton, 1995; Reddy et al., 2002; Mandalakis et al., 2005; Fabbri et al., 2003; Holmstrand et al., 2006).
The MIC can now be readily explored through recent advances in compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA) (e.g., Merritt and Hayes, 1994; Eglinton et al., 1996; Holmstrand et al., 2004; Zencak et al., 2007; Berg et al., 2007).

The research has received funding from the European Community's Seventh.
Framework Programme FP7/(2009-2012) under grant agreement no 212781.