Wadden Mud for Sand-Soil Improvement


Groningen Seaports

Groningen Seaports, De Biogeoloog, RINGadvies, Smals Dredging and dredging company De Boer are working in close partnership and looking into whether there are any promising ways of using Wadden mud for agricultural purposes. They are being assisted with this in financial and policy terms by the Province of Groningen and the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat).  They are also contributing over €40,000 of their own money. The idea is to take the first batch of mud to the Veenkoloniën at the beginning of March.
The experimental project was launched in 2015 with a pilot to find out whether the salt mud is suitable for improving soil. The background to the pilot is twofold: the Wadden Sea is very rich in mud, and there is too much in some areas, such as the Eems Dollard estuary. Nature and environmental organisations and public authorities would like to remove the mud.

Mud from the port could serve to improve the soil of agricultural lands in the Veenkoloniën. The first batch of mud was used in February 2015. The results of the first pilot in 2015 are now in: using salt mud does not have any harmful effects, and this conclusion is very welcome news to the farmers involved. The pilot is being followed up in the period 2016/2019. As well as GSP, five arable farmers and five agriculturalists are working together in this pilot. Knowledge institutes Wageningen University and Van Hall Larenstein are also involved. The project is being co-financed by the Waddenfonds and the Ministries of Infrastructure & Water Management and Economic Affairs & Climate.

The mud is dredged out of Eemshaven, where a lot of sediment forms naturally with the tides. The mud is clean and meets the standards for use as agricultural soil. Once it has been dredged, it is directly transported and mixed locally with fresh water so that it can be spread in much the same way as liquid manure. The first interim results were announced in August, and the final report is due to be published in January 2016. This will make it clear whether the Waddenmud can be used to enrich the Veenkoloniën and whether the pilot should be extended.

Environmental Issue

  • Dredging: disposal
  • Dredging: operations
  • Relationship with local community
  • Port development

Relevance to the 5 Es Framework of the ESPO Green Guide

  • Encourage
  • Engage
  • Exemplify
  • Enable