Envisan, the environmental subsidiary of Jan De Nul Group, has started remediation works to treat the ground contamination in the Lieve riverbed.
Over the next six weeks, the company will install innovative reactive mats in De Lieve watercourse.
They will address historical soil and groundwater pollution caused by 19th century industrial activities, the company said in the release.
The works are part of the European RESANAT project (‘REstverontreiniging SAneren met NATure-based technieken’), a Flemish-Dutch partnership.
Under this scheme, OVAM and the project team will install specially designed mats on the Lieve riverbed and embankment.
These innovative mats replace the old, contaminated silt layer and protect the surface water from contamination pending the complete remediation of the surrounding land.
The mats will filter the pollutants out of the groundwater and break it down naturally. They have a permeable geotextile structure, comparable to the structure of a duvet.
A filler material is applied within the cells that retain pollutants to help break them down. The filler consists of natural materials such as peat and biochar (a type of charcoal).
The project will run for another 2 years. The mats themselves will remain in place even longer, to eliminate the impact of historic pollutants on De Lieve.