Sustainable Use and Management of Soil, Sediment and Water Resources

15th International Conference | 20–24 May 2019 | Antwerp, Belgium

TECHNICAL EXCURSIONS |  Friday, 24 MAY 2019, EUR 20 |  after closing session (noon time) | all in parallel (half day)

Please note: The scientific tours of the upcoming AquaConSoil conference will match the overall themes of the conference. All tours will be conducted in English, and transport to and from the sites will be provided from the conference centre.

  • Your field trip booking shall only be valid if both your conference and your excursion fee have been paid into the conference account in full.
  • In case that an excursion is overbooked, the order of registrations and payment will be decisive. If you are interested in taking part in a field trip that already is fully booked, please contact the conference secretary in order to get on the waiting list.
  • In case that you have to cancel your participation in a field trip, please let the conference secretary know at the soonest. There may be other conference delegates on the waiting list for this field trip. Please note that no reimbursement can be given for cancellations later than Thursday 2 May 2019, because at this time buses, etc. are already booked. If we have to cancel a field trip because there are too few participants, we will inform you per e-mail ASAP and you can choose another field trip or the excursion fee will be refunded fully.

Tour 1: Demonstration of innovative Spin® injection technology

Organiser: Injectis

Start / end point: Blue Gate Antwerp

Contact: Jeroen Vandenbruwane

The Spin® injection technology has been developed to give an answer to the limitations of the traditional direct push technology (DPT) for direct

injection of reagents into the subsurface for remediation purposes. With DPT technology, an injection rod is being pushed or hammered into the soil.

Injection products are being injected – mostly at discrete depths – while going down (top-down) or retraction of the rods (bottom-up). By pushing injection rods with a conical point into the subsurface, the soil is being pushed aside and compaction and soil smearing occur at the point of injection. As a consequence, the hydraulic conductivity of the soil reduces dramatically and increased injection pressures are needed to be able to distribute the injection solution into the surrounding soil. Often, the critical injection pressure is being exceeded, causing unwanted fracturing and short-circuiting of the injection product. The injection product can even appear at the surface (daylighting or blowout next to the injection rods). The applied injection pressures can remain into the soil fractures for a long period and injection product can come back to the surface after retraction of the injection rods (reflux). These phenomena (fracturing, daylighting, reflux, blowout) cause injection products not to be distributed at the right location and lead to a decreased efficiency of the remediation.

The patented Spin® injection technology has been designed to avoid compaction and soil smearing at the point of injection. As a consequence, lower injection pressures can be applied and large injection flow rates can be achieved without unwanted fracturing to occur. Moreover, hammering is not being used so that preferential flow paths next to the injection rods are not being formed. As a result, there is a high degree of certainty that the product is being injected in the targeted soil layer.

The design of the Spin® injection technology allows for continuous top-down injection over the entire depth interval. During the injection process, injection volume, pressure and flow rate are being measured every centimeter with the Spin® measure and logging system. Additionally a relative value (Ks,rel) for the hydraulic conductivity of the different soil layers is being determined, what gives a clear image on the texture and stratification of the subsurface. The data generated from each injection point are being presented in “Spin® injection logs” in which total volume, flow rate, pressure and relative hydraulic conductivity are plotted against the depth below surface. Learn more


Tour 2: Brownfield development in Old Docks Ghent

Organisor: OVAM

Time: 13–17 h, by bus to Ghent and back

Contact: Eddy Wille, Johan Ceenaeme

In VAC, the 21st floor has already been laid out to sketch an image from Ghent. As a concrete project there was already contact with Sogent for Old Docks. The goal is to demonstrate the connection between brownfield development, soil remediation, spatial planning, sustainable development, mobility, ... In this story we bring the quadruple helix aspect with the various actors. An additional advantage is that a number of cases have already been completed (De Krook, La Floridienne, Den Draad, Transuniverse, Filature du Rabot), in development (Island, Rhodia, Libert Paints, ...) and the diversity is also well covered:

  • public / private players / foundation;
  • ex officio / non-ex officio;
  • transport via waterway;
  • various spatial developments (industry to nature) and mutual relationship;
  • aspects of sustainability in various areas (energy, materials, mob, ...);
  • chosen approach: covenant or not.

Tour 3: "Amoras" | Antwerp Mechanical Dewatering, Recycling and Application of Sludge

Organisor: Envisan/DEC

Contact: Annick Van Hyfte, Siegfried D’haene

Guaranteeing sufficient draught to shipping traffic is an essential condition for the Port of Antwerp to prosper now and in the future. To do so, there is a constant need to dredge and store large volumes of sediment (Over 1,000,000 m³ of sediments are dredged in the port of Antwerp each year).

Due to limited available underwater storage capacity, The Flemish Government, responsible for the maintenance dredging works in the port, decided to build a mechanical dewatering plant in the port area as a lasting and innovative solution for the treatment and storage of dredged sediment as a stackable material on land. This ambitious project has been given the name AMORAS, an acronym for ‘Antwerpse Mechanische Ontwatering, Recyclage en Applicatie van Slib’  (Antwerp Mechanical Dewatering, Recycling and Application of Sediment).

The design, construction and exploitation of the installation for 15 years were awarded to the joint venture SeReAnt, a combination of two of the world’s largest dredging companies Jan De Nul Group and Dredging International (DEME) and their respective environmental companies Envisan and DEC. These partners have extensive and specialized experience with all distinctive aspects of the AMORAS project, such as the dredging and transport of sediment, the exploitation of various sediment treatment centres with desanding and mechanical dewatering facilities and storage of (treated) sediments. Moreover, they can count upon a substantial in-house diversified environmental expertise.

Detailed engineering, construction and testing of the dewatering plant were executed in a period of 3 years (September 2008 to September 2011), exploitation of the plant started in October 2011 and will last till September 2026. The goal is to annually dewater some 2 million m³ of dredged sediments (± 500.000 tonnes of dry matter).


Tour 4: Fysicochemical treatment and sustainable entrepreneurship go hand in hand

Organisor: Envisan

Contact: Annick Van Hyfte

The Recycling Centre and Temporary Storage Site in Hulsdonk is located at the heart of the port of Ghent and accessible through several transportation channels: important waterways and highways.

Envisan develops and runs this centre in cooperation and consultation with all stakeholders. With a processing capacity of 450,000 tonnes/year, the Hulsdonk centre offers its public and private clients innovative and safe solutions for taking over a wide range of hazardous and non-hazardous mineral waste substances, including contaminated soils and dredging sediments.

The centre offers its clients an overall solution. After having processed their waste substances in our centre, we will provide them with the corresponding processing certificate so that they are definitively released from their responsibility as owner of these waste substances.

This centre forms an essential link in the optimisation of soil and sediment flows from civil engineering and environmental works companies by treating the inflow of contaminated soils and sediments and valorising them into construction materials for other applications. The centre ensures the storage and re-grouping, traceability, pre-treatment, additional characterisation and biological and physical-chemical treatment of dewatered soils and sediments. The centre also dehydrates sediments by way of lagooning. Envisan expanded its offer of secondary raw materials thanks to a brand new physicochemical treatment plants in its treatment centre in the port of Ghent. Thanks to the new soilwash installation, the percentage of reuse will even be raised.

The installation is semi-mobile, which means it can also be used in other processing centres operated by Envisan in Belgium and even on-site for large remediation projects. Moreover, these secondary raw materials are not merely reused as construction materials on the different sites of Jan De Nul Group as also third parties can purchase them for their infrastructure or construction works.

The installation is able to extract heavy metals, hydrocarbons, PAHs, asbestos, etc. from soils. The purified residual flows, mainly sand and granular debris, are given a second life as secondary raw materials for construction applications (valorisation).


Tour 5: Balmatt site Mol

Organiser: VITO

Start / end point: Antwerp (exact location tbd)

Contact: David Lagrou, Ben Laenen, Ilse Van Keer | VITO nv

Special recommendations: Sturdy shoes; not suitable for disabled persons

Geothermal energy forms an indispensable link in the renewable energy mix of the future. VITO is constructing a deep geothermal energy plant on the Balmatt site in Mol. Geothermal water of more than 120°  C is pumped up from -3,600 m from a Carboniferous limestone layer. From October 2018, the buildings of VITO, SCK.CEN and Belgoprocess are heated with geothermal energy. The broader region of the Campine can follow suit.

The visit includes a guided tour in the new geothermal energy plant and in a demonstration house, connected to the heating network. Also the remediation of the former asbestos plant will be covered.

Tour 6: Blue Gate – Remediation of Antwerp petroleum harbour to create the first circular, eco-effective, water-bound business  park in Belgium

Organiser: DEME Environmental Contractors (DEC)

Start / end point: Antwerp (tba), 13–17 h

Contact: Wolf Depraetere, Ederic Keirsebelik, DEC nv

Special recommendations: Sturdy shoes; clothing compatible with construction & remediation wharf;

some parts of excursion not suitable for disabled

Blue Gate Antwerp, a brownfield site of 66 ha located along the River Scheldt, formerly the very heart of the Antwerp and European petroleum industry, is now being redeveloped into a high-quality and water-bound business park by a public-private partnership (PPP) named Blue Gate Antwerp Development (BGAD).

DEME Environmental Contractors (DEC) is main shareholder in the PPP.

BGAD, currently the owner of the site, took on itself the remediation obligation and the engagement to redevelop the site to a climate neutral business park. On this historically highly polluted area, various types of pollution will be eliminated, such as mineral oils, PAH and heavy metals.

The remediation obligation risk for BGAD is mitigated by a lumpsum contract with DEC, including not only the remediation works  but also the land raising and infrastructure-works.

The commercialisation of the remediated land is the responsibility of Bopro, the other private shareholder in the BGAD.

Bopro is going to talk about the challenges in the marketing and the sales process, where ambitions of sustainability and innovation of the future residents are to be contractually anchored.

AG Vespa and PMV will share their vision towards their role as a public partner in the BGAD and will offer an insight into the complex tendering process, preceding the awarding of the project to DEC and Bopro.

BOPRO and VITO will present local Circular Economy initiatives, such as the “Circular Construction Consolidation Center” for sustainable logistics and reuse of construction materials and the project Circular South which engages the local community in tackling collective circular challenges.

Finally, a site tour will visualize the different aspects and their complex relationship.

Photo: Blue Gate Antwerp Development nv

Tour 7: In-situ bioremediation with hydraulic containment of large plumes of chlorinated solvents with groundwater recirculation and automated substrate injection

Organiser: VITO

Start / end point: Antwerp (Astrid Plaza), 13–17 h

Contact: Sylvie Seurinck,  Antea Group

Special recommendations: Sturdy shoes; difficult for disabled due to outdoor location in forested area, but parts of the tour would be accessible for them

Visit of a site with an operational full-scale remediation of a large groundwater pollution of trichloroethene (TCE). The pollution originates from a former furniture manufacturer and is located in a partially forested and industrial area.

Two plumes can be distinguished, each having an extent of approx 70 m wide and 400 m long. Plume 1 extends to a depth of 40 m-bgl and plume 2 extends to a depth of 30 m-bgl.

The hydraulic barrier that contains the groundwater plumes consists of 7 pumping wells with screen intervals of 30 to 40 m-bgl. It operates at an extraction rate of 1 m³.h-1 per well. The extracted groundwater is spiked with molasses and re-injected upstream of the hydraulic barrier in 16 biobarriers. These are distributed over the contaminated plumes at distances of 20 m. They have vertical infiltration screens located at different depths. In total 362 vertical infiltration filters were installed, with infiltration depths between 9 m-bgl and 40 m-bgl.  If pH in the aquifer decreases below 6, sodium bicarbonate will be dosed in line to maintain an optimal pH for microbial dechlorination.

During the injection period the extraction flows, groundwater levels, injection pressures and flows and TOC concentrations are monitored. The first injection campaign lasts 40 days during which 5755 m³ groundwater needs to be infiltrated. After this substrate injection event, the extracted groundwater of the hydraulic barrier will be recirculated to the biobarriers without dosing of molasses. Around 40 wells are monitored periodically for groundwater levels, concentrations of TOC, chlorinated ethenes, nitrate, sulfate, iron(II), methane, ethane, ethane.

Tour 8: A visit to Belgium’s first and most experienced soil recycling centre, in the heart of the world’s biggest petrochemical cluster, the Port of Antwerp

Organiser: GRC Kallo

Start / end point: GRC, Sint-Jansweg 10, 9130 Kallo, duration 1–1.5 h

Contact: Jan Zwaenepoel, GRC Kallo

Special recommendations: Boots or sturdy shoes necessary.  Helmet and high visibility jacket will be provided.  A lot of stairs to be climbed; not suitable for the disabled.

During the technical excursion, two types of soil treatment will be demonstrated.

Physico-chemical remediation

This is a wet extraction process in which contamination is removed and the soil is recycled into a secondary construction material. The extraction process is carried out through preliminary treatment, decontamination of the sandy fraction, washing of the coarse material such as rocks and gravel, process water treatment and treatment of the sludge fraction).  The different stages of the soil washing process will be shown, starting with the intake of the contaminated soil and ending with the produced clean sand and gravel. The soil washing technique is especially suited to treat gravelly and sandy soils contaminated with heavy metals, cyanides and hydrocarbons.


This technique boosts the natural degradation processes of contaminants in the soil. This treatment is suited to all types of soil (sandy to clay soils) contaminated with readily biodegradable organic compounds. Process parameters of bioremediation such as oxygen levels, nutrients, temperature and moisture content are optimised. The bioremediation will be demonstrated in one of the four available biobeds.

Tour 9: In situ remediation project combining advanced remediation techniques

Organiser: MOURIK

Start / end point: tba

Contact: Karina Suy, Mourik

Visit of an in situ remediation project located in the vicinity of Antwerp.

Tour 10: Terranova Solar

Organiser: Deme

Start / end point: Callemansputtestraat 92, 9940 Rieme, 13:30–16:30 h

Contact: Bartel De Clercq, Deme

This project features within the framework of the brownfield development of the old gypsum mountain, formerly owned by Nilefos and Rhodia. These sites are located within the Port of Ghent area, alongside the R4 and E34.

When NV Terranova took over these sites, they had already been abandoned for a number of years.

At the start of 2010, Ovam (the Public Waste Agency of Flanders) gave instructions that the site should be dealt with as a matter of urgency as the highly acidic water basins were about to overflow.

From the very start, a collaboration agreement was signed between Dredging International, DEC, Jan De Nul, Envisan and Aertssen.

Once the property was acquired, discussions were held with the local and Flemish authorities about the most appropriate way to decontaminate the site and about how best to apply for and obtain the relevant permit.


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