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Remediating the future of land contamination with Umvoto

Umvoto Africa is pleased to announce our recent affiliation as a member of the Network for Industrially Contaminated Land in Africa (NICOLA). The forum deals with the management of contaminated land in Africa, with its principal aim being that of creating a robust and integrated platform that fosters the development, application and dissemination of sustainable practices, knowledge and technologies.

What is NICOLA?

NICOLA provides an active and accessible forum that allows for the integration and co-operation between various disciplines spanning industry, mining, service provision, academia, and regulatory bodies, all the while connecting them with the fields of contaminant hydrogeology, geochemistry and waste management. This is achieved by the forum’s focal themes of knowledge sharing, networking, and inspiring scientific best practice.


Knowledge sharing elicits the continuous dissemination and exchange of ideas, best practice, and scientific knowhow surrounding the sustainable management and rehabilitation of contaminated land. With Umvoto’s expertise, membership on this forum will not only enhance growth and development in the company itself but serve as a means of bolstering pre-existing knowledge in an African context so that Umvoto may approach projects with cutting-edge methods and technologies. NICOLA has identified four working groups to work to drive science and policy on the following key topics:

  • Vapour intrusion screening values;
  • Sector understanding for what significance means in the context of contamination;
  • A nationwide groundwater methodology for contaminated sites in South Africa; and
  • Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (LNAPL).

How does NICOLA enhance our vision for the future?

The platform allows for the formation of crucial transboundary linkages between organisations that typically would not share knowledge and innovation, better equipping Umvoto in upcoming projects to ensure with high confidence that the most suitable and sustainable approaches are adopted to achieve optimal results, while not losing sight of the social and environmental aspects that surround and transverse us. Umvoto is committed to aligning our goals and practices to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) blueprint which is applicable to remediation of soil, water, and air to ensure a cleaner and more sustainable future for all. Umvoto looks forward to this new chapter and what lies on the horizon for both the company and the community.

Links between Umvoto and NICOLA

Apart from our affiliation as a member of NICOLA, Umvoto’s Andrew Gemmell presented at the 2016 NICOLA Conference with a presentation titled “The assessment of the potential for the bacterial degradation of tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene in the contaminated vadose zone of two vegetated industrial slimes dams”. Continuing this engagement, Andrew will be presenting a “Brown Bag” to NICOLA titled “Groundwater numerical modelling of the Cape Flats Aquifer to support protection of water quality”. Andrew will also be presenting a poster titled “Chemical and waste management as reflected in the SDG’s” at the upcoming SustRem2021 conference hosted by NICOLA. SustRem2021 aims to create collaboration opportunities for Africa’s unique contaminated land challenges, empower sustainable remediation practices and leave a transforming legacy.


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