About S-Risk©

What is S-Risk©?

S-Risk© is a state-of-the-art model that can help you assess exposure and human health risks at contaminated sites. Using steady-state conservation of mass principles, it calculates the fate and distribution of chemical pollutants in soil.

S-Risk© is available as a user-friendly web application. You can specify and simulate scenarios, from generic to very specific case studies. The interface allows you to choose from different options, including soil remediation values, site-specific risk assessment, and remediation objectives.

S-Risk© comes with a list of built-in chemicals and scenarios, but you can easily modify them according to your needs. This feature enables you to adapt the information to your site under study or use the model for other purposes.

History of S-Risk©

The S-Risk© web application was initally developed by VITO, a research organization, based on years of research projects commissioned by OVAM, the Flemish Soil and Waste Agency. The prototype application for the exposure and health assessment of polluted soils was presented in 2011 and further developed into a web application in consultation with OVAM. As of June 2013, the S-Risk© web application is operational and is used by accredited soil remediation experts in Flanders and potential users in or outside Flanders.

S-Risk© has been put forward as the standard model for use in sustainable soil management in Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia by OVAM, IBGE-BIM, and SPW, respectively. Two regional versions of S-Risk© are now available from April 2017, one following the Flemish and Brussels regulatory context and one following the Walloon regulatory context.

Since April 2023, SPAQuE has been diligently attending to the maintenance and development of S-Risk©.

Why S-Risk©?

A comprehensive approach for assessing and managing contaminated sites that is based on risk necessitates the utilization of suitable and versatile tools capable of evaluating exposure and health risks associated with soil contamination, taking into account varying land uses and contamination profiles. These tools must facilitate the calculation of clean-up values, remediation objectives, and site-specific risks. S-Risk© was originally intended to satisfy the demands of regional or national regulatory frameworks concerning contaminated sites. Thanks to its adaptable and transparent structure, S-Risk© is also suitable for use in contexts beyond those regulated by authorities.

How does it work?

The transfer calculations of a site's contamination profile can be linked automatically, enabling users to modify built-in land use scenarios to define exposure pathways and parameters. The model then calculates concentrations of contaminants in the surrounding air (both indoor and outdoor) due to volatilization and soil resuspension, in drinking water through leaching or permeation, and in food through plant and animal uptake. Exposure predictions are made for inhalation (ambient, indoor, and bathroom air), oral (water, food, soil, and dust), and dermal (water, soil, and dust) routes across different age groups, ranging from children to adults.

To assess risk, the model compares exposure levels with toxicological reference values and concentrations with toxicological or legal reference concentrations. Users have flexibility in determining critical ages and performing simultaneous runs for local, systemic, threshold, and non-threshold effects.