The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies' (TES)
Volume 12, Number 2, 2013

ISSN 1602-2297


Public Archives and other Sources for Surveying of Dumpsites and Polluting Enterprises before 1950



Anne-Sofie Fleischer Michaelsen
Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Denmark
E-mail: asmichaelsen@gmail.com



Abstract: In Denmark, the local environmental authorities have had an obligation to survey areas for soil contamination since the early 1980s. Through the years, detecting and locating old dumpsites and gathering historical information on them have been very dependent on old aerial photographs. As a result, the environmental authorities only have little knowledge of dumpsites operating before the mid-1950s. This study describes the utility of various historical sources for surveying of old dumpsites in the former Ballerup-Maaløv Municipality near Copenhagen. The minute books of the Council and the Health Commission in the municipality were used. In order to locate two dumpsites mentioned in the minute books and gather information on them, the following additional sources were used: Old census papers, index cards from tax assessments of real property, income tax returns, writings from local history societies on the former villages, recorded memories told by senior citizens and jubilee publications from homeowners’ associations together with old cadastral maps, old topographical maps, and old aerial photographs plus a comparison of terrain heights in a topographical military map from 1900 and the Danish Elevation Model from 2005-2007. The minute books of the Council and the Health Commission contain information on 31 dumpsites and 15 possible dumpsites of very different characteristics. Only a few of the dumpsites were already known by the local environmental authorities. In addition, the minute books and the index cards for properties contain much information which can be used for surveying of other activities in the past that may have caused soil contamination e.g. former industrial enterprises.


Keywords: Dumpsite, soil contamination, surveying, health commission, minute book, elevation model, Ballerup-Maaløv Municipality, Denmark.

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