Fort Filips, The largest rehabilitation project ever in the Antwerp harbour area

After WWII, the 19th century Fort Sint-Filips, on the right bank of the river Scheldt at Antwerp, was used as a dumping ground for millions of litres of oil and chemical waste. Havenbedrijf Antwerpen and De Vlaamse Waterweg want to confine the contamination by encapsulating the heavily polluted ruins. For this project, they selected Jan De Nul, Envisan and partners as contractors. They tackle not only the contamination and restore the nature reserve, they also redevelop the 20ha site completely into a Controlled Flood Area (CFA).

The old fort is encased completely in an underground bentonite-cement wall. Bentonite is a type of clay consisting of exceedingly small particles and can therefore be used to make a wall completely watertight. This wall will connect to the Boom clay layer, approximately 30 m deep, so that the contamination is completely isolated from the environment. An impermeable top layer will cover the contaminated soil, finished with pure topsoil. The 19th century structures will no longer be accessible once the works are completed, but the contours of both forts will be reconstructed aboveground. The rehabilitation of Fort Sint-Filips is part of the Sigma Plan, intended to protect Flanders against floods from the river Scheldt and also focusing on the natural Scheldt environment.