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What happens to dredged materials?

Before we can dredge we have to undertake further surveys, to establish the quantity of silt and test for contamination to see how best we can re-use, recycle or dispose of the dredged materials.

Dredgings are generally a ‘controlled waste' unless we have an immediate use for the silt such as backfilling bank protection or topping up the towpath (if the silt is suitable).

Digger next to a trench

Because the disposal of wet material to landfill is now prohibited by law, when appropriate, we are using innovative ways of removing water from the dredged material, which cuts down on the amount that needs to be disposed of reducing costs in the process.

Silt may also be spread onto agricultural land if the material is relatively uncontaminated and if is possible to demonstrate that there is some benefit to agriculture in doing so.

Dredging brings a great amount of silt up from the bottom of each waterway and is one of the biggest costs associated with maintaining a waterway.

Last Edited: 30 June 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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