High-tech mats for water treatment De Lieve in Ghent
Historic pollution in De Lieve
Between the Durmeschipstraat and the Watlingtonstraat in Wondelgem, De Lieve drains off excess rainwater. This is important to protect the area against floods. Therefore, the canal was dredged late 2019, eliminating the risk of any possible issues in the event of heavy rainfall.
At this location, heavy pollution was found in De Lieve riverbed, with mineral oils and PAH components. This contamination of tarry substances originated from a factory at the Watlingtonstraat, producing tar, asphalt and roofing products from the 19th until the late 20th century.
Throughout the years, a fine silt layer deposited on top of the tar. Therefore, the tar and soil contaminants did not have any impact on the surface water quality. However, due to the dredging of the canal over the past year, more contaminated groundwater ended up in De Lieve and the water quality degraded again.
High-tech mats for water treatment
The coming weeks, OVAM and the project team will install specially designed mats on the Lieve riverbed and embankment. These innovative mats replace the old, contaminated silt layer and protect the surface water from contamination pending the complete remediation of the surrounding land. They will filter the pollutants out of the groundwater and break it down naturally.
The mats have a permeable geotextile structure, comparable to the structure of a duvet. A filler material is applied in the cells that retain pollutants or help break them down. The filler consists of natural materials such as peat and biochar (a type of charcoal). The project will be running for another 2 years. The mats themselves will remain in place even longer, until further remediation works eliminate the impact of pollutants on De Lieve.
A Flemish-Dutch partnership
Within the European RESANAT project, seven small and large Dutch and Flemish companies cooperate with knowledge centre Deltares and the Openbare Vlaamse Afvalstoffenmaatschappij (OVAM) to stimulate the redevelopment of contaminated land in the Netherlands and Flanders. Conventional remediation and management techniques are expensive, energy-intensive, take a long time and sometimes they consume a lot of groundwater.
The project team that tackles De Lieve consists of Envisan-Jan De Nul Group, Tauw, TTE Consultants, Witteveen+Bos and iFLUX, all active in the soil remediation industry and with a shared focus on innovative, sustainable environmental techniques.
An Smet, Director of Envisan: “Our participation in this European RESANAT project is driven by our hunger for innovation. Innovation is part of our strategic pillars to achieve sustainable solutions for a better planet. At Envisan, we distinguish ourselves through research & development around unique and innovative solutions. This project fits perfectly with our vision. We are proud and happy that we can enter into this partnership with our Flemish and Dutch colleagues, as well as with OVAM".