EcoPlume: operational proactive environmental management of dredging
CEDA Dredging Days 2015 - Innovative Dredging Solutions for Ports, Rotterdam
Mol ACS and Huygens M - DEME, Belgium; De Wachter T - Dredging International, Australia
Abstract: In the actual traditional project approach, dredging in environmentally sensitive areas is often restricted by means of water quality criteria. Compliance is verified by extensive, continuous monitoring, which measures the water quality parameters at the environmentally sensitive locations. Traditional reactive field monitoring of the prescribed static water quality criteria only controls the state of impact on the ecosystems, potentially inducing adverse and costly operational limitations on the dredging works. In order to surpass this traditional approach towards a more engaging “ecosystem services” philosophy, an integrated management system is implemented. EcoPlume is a system concept with the purpose of merging operational with environmental interests. It aims at optimizing dredging operations while complying with environmental constraints. Doing so, this EcoPlume system becomes a crucial working tool to implement and deploy a successful adaptive project management in our day-by-day dredging business.
In practice, an EcoPlume system forecasts the relevant water quality parameters given the scheduled and/or targeted dredging works planning. Based on this, dredging operations can be adjusted in a day to day operational planning scheme to ensure that the water quality criteria are fulfilled at all times. On the other hand, operations can be optimized when predicted water quality parameters stay well below the thresholds, which is beneficial for contractor (operational efficiency), client (early completion of the works) and environment (shorter longterm exposure).
A system built according to the EcoPlume concept is made of several interactive blocks. The main components are a numerical hydrodynamic and sediment transport model combined with an on-line monitoring system. EcoPlume uses this model to make short term forecast simulations of the hydrodynamics in the project area. On the basis of the hydrodynamic model, a wide variety of water quality parameters can be predicted, such as suspended sediment concentration, turbidity, sedimentation rate, etc.
This paper presents the general concept of the EcoPlume system. It will describe the necessary components and it will present three illustrative site applications, surpassing the traditional dredging impact approach towards an integrated ecosystem service project level. Presented operational implementations illustrate the learning development process and successes on site of the new management system, integrating both technical efficiency and environmental awareness.
Key words: ecoplume, environment, proactive, operational system