A CEDA - IADC Conference

Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure

Seeking Win-Win Solutions through Beneficial Use of Sediments

19-20 November 2018. Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

There is a large and growing interest, worldwide, in using dredged sediments beneficially to create added value. This interest is being fuelled by recognition that:

  1. sediments are an important natural component of ecosystems;
  2. sediments are a critical part of restoring degraded ecosystem functions and habitats; and
  3. that natural and nature-based features sustained by or constructed using sediments can provide a range of valuable economic, social and environmental benefits and services.

As stated in the principles of sustainable dredging by WODA (World Organization of Dredging Associations): ‘Dredged material management should be based upon a holistic and systematic understanding of the ecosystem and natural processes. Beneficial use of dredged material, such as placement to nourish shoreslines or to enhance or restore wetland ecosystems/marshes and upland habitat, should be given priority.’

beneficial_use_of_sediments.jpg (22 K)

What are the necessary ingredients for making more effective and efficient use of dredged sediments?
If there is a large and increasing demand for beneficial use of sediments, as proposed here, then why aren’t the project owners, government agencies, contractors comprising the international dredging community making more rapid progress toward using 100% of all dredged sediment beneficially? It may be argued that 100% beneficial use is not a feasible goal, given the variety of logistical and economic factors that pertain to dredging projects. However, it is reasonable to ask what the dredging community should be doing in order to increase the amount of dredged sediment used beneficially.

Many ingredients and actions could be proposed as important factors for increasing beneficial use of dredged sediments, such as:

  1. leveraging innovation to increase the affordability of beneficial use;
  2. streamlining and modernising regulatory concepts and processes related to dredging and dredged management;
  3. advancing the science and engineering that supports Working, Building, and Engineering with Nature; and
  4. sharing best practices across the sectors and organisations, internationally, that contribute to dredging projects.

Sustainable sediment management contributes to the economy, ecology, and human safety and well-being. The key concept for creating added value through beneficial use of dredged sediment is to organise our projects and process with the conviction that dredged material is a resource to be utilised rather than a waste to be disposed. When that is done, we will be Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure.      

Last update: 26 July 2018