The CLEANSED project will demonstrate, evaluate and disseminate an innovative, integrated, multisector approach for the smart and sustainable management of polluted dredged river sediments.
Polluted sediments will be dredged, transformed from a contaminated waste into a valuable material via a specific decontamination treatment, and then put to productive use in two different sectors:
1)plant nursing: decontaminated sediments will be used as a substrate/amender to prevent the loss of soil and biomass due to plant nursing activities;
2)road construction: decontaminated sediments will be used as a filling material for the construction of roads.
The whole cycle will take place within a real natural and productive district, i.e. the basin and alluvial plains of the Arno river, Italy.
Every year in Europe 130 million m3 of polluted river sediments are dredged and need to be disposed of in specific and expensive ways (up to €7.000/ton). Every year 5.2 million m3 of soil are removed from the ground due to plant nursing activities. To prevent the risk of a tendency which would lead to a 8-10 mm/year lowering of the ground level, plant nurseries are forced to buy soil from third-party catchments, which are often of poor quality and contribute to soil exploitation elsewhere. Similar problems are faced by the EU road building industry, whose yearly demand for sand, gravel and aggregates for stability and draining purposes is around 30 million m3, for an average value of € 450 million.
The CLEANSED project will show how polluted dredged river sediments can be treated and used within two different production processes in an ecologically and financially advantageous way: the sediments will be turned from a valueless and expensive waste into a valuable raw material, guaranteeing the full environmental and financial sustainability of the approach. The physical-chemical characteristics of decontaminated sediments make it possible to smoothly include them in current production processes.