Dorset Council: Dredged sediment poses no risk to health

Analysis of the sediment deposited on Lyme Regis Front Town beach from the annual dredging in March this year shows that there is nothing that could be a risk to human or marine life, Dorset Council said.

Dorset Council photo

Five sediment samples were taken across the deposited sediment to give an accurate representation of the whole area. The samples were tested for selected substances in a laboratory. The substances that were tested for are often linked with dredging operations of this kind. They were categorised as:

  • Metals
  • Organotins
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)
  • Pesticides

The tests showed that all the substances tested for were well below the threshold level. This level is classified as the range where adverse reactions rarely occur.

According to the council, this shows that there is no risk to human health from the sediment taken from the harbours navigational channels to keep these routes operational.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “One of the most difficult roles that the council has is balancing the various and often opposing actions needed for Dorset to remain an economically viable county. It is good news that the analysis shows that there are no detrimental effects of the dredging on the quality of the beach material.”

Some concerns were raised during the dredging about the colour of the dredged sand which was darker in colour. This is due to the lack of exposure to oxygen in the seabed sediment.

Once exposed to the air, it returns to its normal colour.