Stability of Contaminated Sediments

The research program focused on advancing the state of knowledge on physical and chemical sediment stability, the understanding and prediction of contaminant transport, and the design of long term containment methods.

Historically sediments have been a sink for the contaminant input, from rivers, urban and industrial activity as well as atmospheric input to the fjords. Significant reduction in industrial point sources has been achieved over the last decades.

Detailed site investigation can answer the question whether the sediments at present are still forming a sink or have become a secondary source of contaminants to the fjord system.

Diffuse sources related to our daily life, like run-off from traffic and urbanised areas, have been shown to be significant for the near coastal zone. This contaminant input sets clear limits to the environmental objectives that can be achieved by sediment remediation alone.

Significant environmental improvement of fjords and the coastal zone can only be achieved if a set of remedial measures is implemented that covers all relevant sources both on shore and off-shore. This clearly indicates that sediment contamination is not an echo from the past but a mirror of our daily behaviour.

The main focus of the research was on the integration of knowledge on the physical and chemical interactions in contaminated sediments, with the following objectives:

  • Quantify the principal parameters determining the physical and chemical stability of contaminants in the sediment matrix.
  • Determine the contaminant migration resulting from engineering operations in contaminated sediments, like dredging, backfilling and construction works.
  • Establish design criteria for containment methods with a long-term intrinsic stability and required safety.
  • Develop tools to evaluate efficiency of remediation methods.
  • Develop innovative methods for sediment remediation, e.g. through thin-layer capping or sorbent amendment.

The final report summarizes the main results of the research program. A bibliography of the published papers is given in the last section for further reference.

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