Central Dredging Association

Understanding dredging

Empowering dredging professionals

Dredged material guidelines

The international conventions listed below are important in setting basic requirements for the management of dredged material placement at sea and produce guidelines which provide the context within which assessment of the suitability of dredged material is carried out within contracting countries.  At the heart of these conventions are two basic principles (the precise wording varies and is here abbreviated):

The precautionary principle, by which preventative measures are to be taken when there are reasonable grounds for concern that substances or energy introduced into the marine environment may bring about hazard, harm, damage or interference, even when there is no conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between inputs and the effects. A result of this principle has been the development of the "reverse list" whereby only substances which have been proven NOT to cause harm are permitted to be disposed at sea. The phrase "reasonable grounds for concern" allows some flexibility.

The polluter pays principle, by which the costs of pollution prevention, control and reduction measures are to be borne by the polluter.

A brief introduction to the London Convention dredged material guidelines, which are globally applicable, are available on these pages. To view the introduction, click Revised Specific Guidelines for Assessment of Dredged Material (2013). For the full text of the respective international guidelines follow the links below.

Title and descriptionDownload
LC/LP: Revised specific guidelines for assessment of dredged material - interim version
26 November 2013
558 KbDownload
OSPAR revised dredged material guidelines
4 April 2014
697 KbDownload
HELCOM Guidelines for the disposal of dredged material at sea
1 June 2007
383 KbDownload

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