Dredging to remove heavily polluted sludge at Port of Antwerp

Photo: Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works

The Port of Antwerp, the Flemish government, and contractor Sereant, a partnership between Jan De Nul Group and DEME Group, will begin dredging and processing the most polluted dredging sludge at the port later this month.

The dredging will focus on the removal of sludge with elevated organotin concentrations or tributylin (TBT), a compound used in ship paint since the 1970s to prevent the growth of mussels and algae on hulls.

The sludge at the port has been storing TBT over the course of several years and is gradually releasing contamination into the surrounding waters, disrupting the metabolism and hormone action of molluscs.

Dredging will be carried out over a five-year period to remove an estimated 800,000 cubic metres of TBT-laden sludge, which will then be processed into a dry end product that can be safely stored on-site.

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