Crawling through the mud

“Crawling through the mud”in River Steeping and the Relief Channel

‘Crawling through the mud’ in River Steeping and the Relief Channel

Wet feet in the east coast of England (Wainfleet all Saints), as a result of excessive rainfall and poor coast defence, will diminish coming years.

Recent floodings in the area had a big economic impact on the community of Lincolnshire, through damage of harvest and devastation of the soil structure of the farmland. Therefore, a strong recovery and maintenance plan for the region was set up by a broad cooperation of partners, resulting in a range of actions that should make the local community more resilient to floodings in the future. The plan is successfully covered by a substantial national budget for various works, such as repairs and refurbishment to defences and sluices.

 Royal Smals is part of the solution
As part of the flood risk management project, Royal Smals gained the project for maintenance dredging work in the area. Till autumn 2021, in total 6,900m1 of river banks and channels will be disposed of the sediment to give access to eventual excessive water in the future. The sediment (mostly organic silt with a volume of 50,000m3) will be pumped over water, eco-friendly, into 3 new dewatering lagoons on existing farmland nearby. The works will be performed by a cutter suction dredger: a hydraulic dredger that removes the sediment from the bottom of the river/channel and that transports it through floating pipelines to 3 lagoons, in which sediment will dewater. The remaining silt, after dewatering, will be used to upgrade the quality of the farmground.

Royal Smals is thé specialist to perform such precision works, with 2 dedicated dredgers for this project. Challenges like the presence of 10 bridges and a 2 syphons in the total maintenance track are solved by Smals by removing the cabins of the dredgers while passing the bridges.

Smals Naturally; our slogan that fits perfectly for this challenge
The dredging works will be performed in an environmental and ecological friendly matter.

The ‘gentle and slowly moving mud crawling dredger’ does not cause turbidity and will not impact ‘mud-loving’ species, like spined loaches and eels. We adapt our planning to the ecological system: works take place in ‘the less vulnerable ecological periods’. At the end of the works, species will have more oxygen while slopes and vegetation will not be touched by the dredger. We use biological degradable hydraulic oil and noise levels are reduced to the minimal. Transportation of the sediment through floating pipelines prevent messy embankments, while neither lorry- nor truck driving takes place! The remaining dewatered silt will be used to upgrade the quality of the farmlands in the region.

Win-win situation for all parties
The maintenance dredging works in Wainfleet all Saints is a win-win situation. Desilting and deepening the local waters prevent the area from future flooding. The dewatered sediment will be reused beneficial to upgrade the quality of farmlands. Embankments and slopes of the channels will remain undamaged and the ecology will benefit from the new cleaned waterway and the increased space with extra oxygen available.

Come and see
Together with cooperating organisations, Royal Smals would like to invite anyone who’s interested in the project for a site visit. We love to welcome you on site! Feel free to contact us.

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