Welcome to the SURGE web pages

Dublin SURGE Project (Soil Urban Geochemistry)
Map of sampled site locations   GSI has carried out a chemical survey of the topsoil around Dublin city and county. It involved taking and analysing samples of soil from areas that are publicly accessible (e.g. public parks and school grounds). The aim of the survey is to acquire important information about Dublin soils that will help us to better manage our environment.

Before this project, no baseline geochemical information of any significance exists for Irish urban environments. The Geological Surveys of Europe (EuroGeoSurveys) have initiated an urban soils project in order to highlight the importance of the assessment of urban soils in European cities. Under this initiative, the GSI, in partnership with the Geological Survey of Norway, undertook systematic geochemical mapping of soils in the greater Dublin urban area.

Primary Objectives of the Project
The Dublin SURGE Project sets out to establish geochemical baselines of metals and organic chemicals in Dublin soils. The project will provide information on soil chemistry in the urban environment relevant to human health, land-use planning and urban regeneration. It will also allow us to identify and quantify human impact on soils in urban areas through comparison with adjacent rural soil baseline geochemistry.

Project Launch
The Dublin SURGE (Soil Urban Geochemistry) project was launched on 18th April 2012 by Minister of State for Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd TD at a one-day conference entitled “A Safe City; The Contribution of Geoscience in the Urban Environment”. Completed by the Geological Survey of Ireland, the Dublin SURGE Project is the first ever in-depth study on the baseline geochemistry of Dublin’s topsoil. Results show that the soils of inner city Dublin have higher levels of potentially harmful elements and persistent organic pollutants than outer city areas. This chemical pattern is one which is seen in cities around the world, and is consistent with historical industry, fossil fuel burning and leaded paint and petrol use which has occurred during 1000 years of human habitation in Dublin. The study provides a snapshot today of the chemical status of Dublin soil relevant to the protection of human health, compliance with environmental legislation, land-use planning and urban regeneration.
SURGE Report launch
Ray Scanlon, interim Principal Geologist, Geological Survey of Ireland; Mairead Glennon, Project Geologist, Dublin SURGE project; Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd T.D. and Koen Verbruggen, Acting Director, Geological Survey of Ireland.
The SURGE report executive summary can be downloaded here.

The full SURGE report is available here (41MB PDF).

The Historic Industries database reference in the report can be viewed here

A peer-reviewed, open access paper on SURGE has been published in the Journal of Environmental Geochemistry and Health and is now available online:
Glennon, M., Harris, P., Ottesen, R.T., Scanlon, R.P. and O’Connor, P. The Dublin SURGE Project: Geochemical baseline for heavy metals in topsoils and spatial correlation with historic industry in Dublin, Ireland. Journal of Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 36(2), 235-254. Special Issue on the 9th International Symposium on Environmental Geochemistry.
DOI 10.1007/s10653-013-9561-8.

Additional work on spatial modelling of the SURGE data has been completed by consulting geologist Raymond Healy: Healy, R.E. (2013) Integration of Factor Analysis and GIS in Spatial Modelling of the Dublin SURGE Geochemical Data Set. Unpublished report. 

 Sampling site boggy area  Sample Football pitch sampling