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Understanding Dredging

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New CEDA Working Group on substances of possible concern in sediment


Substances of possible concern in sediment are substances that might merit action by legal frameworks (f.i. OSPAR, HELCOM or the WFD) due to their persistency, liability to bioaccumulate and toxicity or other equivalent concern. In Europe the Regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH) is the main EU law to protect human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals. This is done by better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances and by taking measures. For dredging, disposal and beneficial use of sediments this means that substances of possible concern can impact sediment management, if not now than in the foreseeable future.

The main objective of the Working group is to make an information paper to inform the dredging industry about the subject of substances of possible concern on an EU scale. Apart from PFAS[1], what other substances of possible concern are currently addressed within regulation? What are the sources and pathways of these substances and to what extent does sediment management (including dredging, disposal of dredged materials and the beneficial used of sediment) impact these pathways?

The paper should make clear that sediments are not the source of substances of possible concern (we are, with our production and use of these substances) and that sediments play an important role in buffering their impact and release of these substances to surface and groundwater. The drawback is also that sediments, when contaminated, can have an impact on the water quality on a timescale of decades.

The paper should focus on the action perspective for a sediment manager to limit the release of substances of possible concern in general and PFAS specific from sediments. The paper should also investigate what is known regarding the behaviour PFAS in sediments when dredged and investigate the risks of the transfer of PFAS to other compartments ((ground)water/air) when sediments are dredged or dredged sediments are applied.

If you would like to join this new Working Group, please reach out to Mieke van Loenen (, by 29 February 2024. Please provide a brief curriculum vitae along with a brief description of relevant experience.

[Please note: the costs incurred in taking part in the Working Group will have to be borne by the participating member or their company/organisation, and this should be taken into consideration when expressing interest.]