Fort Sint-Filips – the largest ever rehabilitation project in Port of Antwerp

In the largest rehabilitation project in the Port of Antwerp ever undertaken, the transformation of Fort Sint-Filips was successfully completed after two years by DEME Environmental and its partners. photo

After World War II, the 19th century fort served as a dumping ground for millions of litres of oil and chemical waste. This was removed and the fort was encased in an underground cement-bentonite wall, so that the contamination is completely isolated.

The recreated lagoon and riverbanks were topped with clean soil top layers to facilitate a natural embankment development.

Once the team had tackled the heavy historical pollution, a higher river dyke was built to protect the city and the industrial area of the port against rising water levels, which are likely to occur given the impact of climate change.

This initiative is part of the SIGMA flood protection plan along the River Scheldt.

As a crucial add-on to the flood protection measures, an additional groyne dam has been built downstream of the fort, which will stimulate the development of a 20-ha tidal nature area.

The natural dam was created from the reuse of dredged material from the site and enhances the direct creation and natural growth of a low-dynamic estuarine zone along the River Scheldt with mudflats and shoals, marshlands and brooks.

Therefore, the initial remediation project turned into an integrated, sustainable flood management project as part of a more balanced Scheldt Estuary Development Outline – creating not only a safer, but also accessible, attractive and natural estuarine system.