Everything you need to know about the Baseline Report on one single page



Here you find all the important terms around the baseline report and the obligation for restoration:


Ordinance on Plants handling with Substances Hazardous to Waters, entered into force on 01st August 2017, this nationwide ordinance replaces the Federal ordinances (VAwS) of the different German Federal states

Contaminated Sites

Contaminated sites within the meaning of German Federal Soil Protection Act are

  1. closed-down waste management installations, and other real properties, in/on which waste has been treated, stored or landfilled (former waste disposal sites), and
  2. real properties that house closed-down installations, and other real properties, on which environmentally harmful substances have been handled, except for installations that can be closed down only under a license pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act (former industrial sites),

that cause harmful soil changes (to the soil) or other hazards for individuals or the general public

Baseline Report

Describes the condition of soil and groundwater on the industrial property. In the end it serves as a preservation of evidence and as standard of comparison in case of closure of an installation to return the site to the state described in the baseline report in accordance with Art. 5 par. 4 German Federal Immission Control Protection Act. (cf. Article 22 IE- RL – approx.: Industrial Emissions Guideline)

Federal Soil Protection Act (BBodSchG)

Its objective is to sustainably protect or restore the functions of soil. For this purpose, “harmful soil changes” must be averted, soil and water pollution caused by these must be remediated, and precautions taken against harmful effects on the soil.

Federal Soil Protection Ordinance (BBodSchV)

Complement to the Federal Soil Protection Act. Specifies the handling of contaminated sites and suspected contaminated sites in Germany.

Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG)

Federal Immission Control Act, law to protect against harmful environmental effects caused by air pollution, noise, vibrations and similar processes. It regulates the protection of people, animals, plants, soils, water, atmosphere and cultural assets. 

CLP Regulation

European Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures – Regulation No. 1272/2008

Approval Procedures

The construction and operation of installations listed in the Fourth Ordinance for the Implementation of the Federal Immission Control Act (Ordinance on Installations Requiring a Permit -4. BImSchV), requires a permit in accordance with the Federal Immission Control Act. Details of the approval procedure are set down in the Ninth Ordinance on the Approval Procedure. 

IED Plants

All industrial installations, explicitly listed in the IED (see keyword IED directive) resp. in Annex 1 of Fourth Ordinance of the Federal Immission Control Act (mark “E” in column d). These are, for example, installations of the energy sector, the petroleum processing and the chemical industries, waste treatment, wood and paper industry, slaughter houses, food industry, factory farming, surface treatment with organic solvents.

IED Directive

Industrial Emissions Directive, also IE-RL: EU directive regulating the approval, operation, monitoring and decommissioning of industrial installations.

REACH Regulation

REACH – Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals: EU directive on registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of Chemicals.

Relevant Hazardous Substances

Relevant hazardous substances in compliance with the Federal Immission Control Act (Art. 3 par. 10) are hazardous substances, which are used, produced or released in considerable quantities in industrial installations and which can, by their nature, cause of soil or groundwater contamination on the plant property.

Obligation for restoration

According to Art. 5 par. 4 of the Federal Immission Control Act, plant operators are obliged to eliminate any soil and groundwater pollutions by relevant hazardous substances on the property in case of closure of their plant and to return the site to the state described in the baseline report.

Technical Rules for Substances Harmful to Water

Technical Rules for Substances Harmful to Water (TRwS) – include further specifications on legal requirements for the design, operation and monitoring of installations with respect to the handling of substances hazardous to water.

Investigation Concept

In the investigation concept it will be evaluated if the preparation of a Baseline Report is required. Soil and groundwater investigation measures will be described which are necessary for the preparation of the Baseline Report.


Ordinance on Installations for the Handling of Substances Hazardous to Water (VAwS) (with the entry into force of the AwSV – Ordinance of facilities for handling substances – the national laws were suspended)

Water Hazard Class

Water Hazard Class (Wassergefährdungsklasse = WGK): Substances and mixtures, which are used on the sites, are classified in Art. 3 (1) AwSV according their harmfulness as not hazardous to water or one of the following water hazard classes: water hazard class 1: slightly hazardous to water, water hazard class 2: significantly hazardous to water, water hazard class 3: highly hazardous to water.

Water Resources Act

Water Resources Act (WHG): Includes provisions for the protection and the use of surface waters and groundwater, and also rules on the development of water bodies and the water planning policy as well as flood protection.

Relevance of the contamination

The factor for measuring the materiality threshold is F=1,5. Which means that a substance‘s content is significant, if the value described in the baseline report is exceeded by more than half. The exceeding of the materiality threshold implements the obligation for restoration. A triviality threshold is used to determine the relevance of very low contents because in this case the measurement inaccuracies are high and the contents which are reported in the baseline report can be very low. The precautionary values of the soil protection law, the LAWA no effect levels or the local existing background levels can be considered as triviality thresholds. (Guidline on obligation for Restoration, LABO/LAWA/LAI, 09.03.2017).

Documents on the termination of plant operation

Document on the state of soil and groundwater at the site at the moment of termination of plant operation, which has to be presented by the plant operators with an evaluation about a possible obligation for restoration according to Art. 5 par. 4 of the Federal Immission Control Act to the responsible public authority. (Guidline on obligation for Restoration, LABO/LAWA/LAI, 09.03.2017)

Criteria of proportionality

The obligation to restore is in that sense restricted, that the measures have to be proportional. The measures should serve to remove the contamination and to return the site to the state which is described in the baseline report. Furthermore it is necessary, that the measure fulfills the following criteria. A measure is suitable, if it is achieving the objective or if it is at least generating progress. It has to be required, which means, that there is no more lenient measure apparent. Finally the measure has to be appropriate, so that the effort and the success are in a decent ratio (Guidline on obligation for Restoration, LABO/LAWA/LAI, 09.03.2017)

Final state report (EZB)

In the final state report the concentration of relevant hazardous substances (rgS) in soil and groundwater at the time of plant termination are compared to the concentration described in the baseline report to determine whether there is a relevant contamination, which requires a restoration to the state described in the baseline report.

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