Trials of different dredging methods on the River Parrett, carried out by Van Oord working in partnership with the Parrett Internal Drainage Board and the Somerset Rivers Authority, have produced promising initial results, Team Van Oord said in its latest announcement.
Tests of water injection dredging and agitation dredging were carried out on sections of the River Parrett near Bridgwater.
The tests initially took place over three weeks in November and early December but were then extended for a further two weeks following early analyses of data.
It is hoped that the new techniques may provide cheaper and better ways of maintaining tidal rivers on the Somerset Levels and Moors, and across the country, TVO said.
In traditional dredging, silt is scooped out of the riverbed using excavators, either from the riverbank or with cranes mounted on special barges.
The silt is then taken away in trucks and either deposited on agricultural land or used to strengthen existing riverbanks.
Water injection dredging and agitation dredging have significantly less impact on local people and the natural environment.
The River Parrett trials started on 14 November, in conjunction with detailed monitoring before, during and after.