DGE (Dredging in Europe) is an European platform for exchanging knowledge, information and experiences in the field of sediment and dredged material management. DGE aims to promote discussions related to sediment and dredged material management in the respective multilateral international and European frameworks and to better integrate sediment and dredging issues into river basin management plans and marine spatial planning. In the understanding of DGE, the term ‘dredging’ comprises not only the handling of dredged material, including its uptake, placement or disposal, use and treatment, but also legislation concerning dredging, environmental aspects of dredging activities, maintenance of waterways, safety against flooding, Working with Nature or Eco-Engineering.
The area of interest lies both in inland waterways like large rivers and canals and in estuaries and coastal areas. The exchange is informal, meaning that no official governmental statements will be prepared. The exchange will help to feed the participating organizations with better knowledge and experience of sediment and dredged material management.
At this moment, representatives of ministries, governmental agencies and institutions and port authorities from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom participate in the exchange of DGE. The participation of other countries on the Atlantic coast of Europe (including the North Sea and the Baltic Sea) would be very welcome.
DGE so far has produced thematic guidance documents in the field of dredged material management based on the experiences in The Netherlands and Germany. Each document covers a specific subject providing for a comparison between the situation in both countries and an outlook. A broader description of DGE is given in the paper ‘Relevance and objectives of DGE‘.

DGE Product list

DGE so far has produced thematic guidance documents in the field of dredged material management based on the experiences in The Netherlands and Germany. Each document covers a specific subject providing for a comparison between the situation in both countries and an outlook.

Available documents

• DGE Part I: Dredged Material and Legislation (April 2003)
Part I has the character of a stepping-stone for all other documents because it contains a survey about relevant definitions and the legislative situation of dredged material management in both countries against the European background. It can be concluded that the present regulatory framework for management and handling of dredged material is extremely complex. Depending on the dredging objective and the destination of the dredged material, different (parts of) international conventions, European and national laws and regulations apply, e.g. for water, soil, waste and environment. Furthermore, current developments on the European level (Water, Waste and Soil Framework Directives) are likely to have further influence on national legislation and sediment/dredged material management. In general it is concluded that there is a need for a more appropriate and less complex regulatory framework for the handling of sediments and dredged material in both countries. Download here.

• DGE Part II: Treatment and Confined Disposal of Dredged Material (Sept. 2002)
The document gives an overview of the state of development in Germany and The Netherlands of large-scale treatment, beneficial use and confined disposal technologies that are applicable to dredged material. The current situations and policies with respect to treatment and confined disposal in Germany and The Netherlands are described. Fact sheets and case studies in an annex to the report give more detailed information on the subjects. Gaps and discrepancies in existing guidelines or directives and legislation are identified in the document. Download here.

• DGE Part III: Hazardous substances in dredged material (March 2005)
In the past a vast number of chemical thresholds for different environmental compartments (soil, sediment, water, fauna, etc.) were determined for various regulations in Germany and The Netherlands. The specific destination of the dredged material is determining the applicable parameters and thresholds. The progressing European legislation has set up new demands (e.g. priority substances in the European Water Framework Directive, thresholds for different landfill categories in the European Landfill Directive, thresholds within national soil legislation) which significantly influence dredged material management today and in the future. Furthermore, the questions of new substances being introduced into the environment and which of them need be considered for sediment/dredged material management in the future, are of importance. At this moment, there are differences between countries and specific regulations within each country which are not expected to be harmonised on a European level. The DGE report gives an overview of the use of chemical parameters and thresholds for the handling of dredged material and sediments in Germany and The Netherlands by comparing the situation in both countries. Recommendations are given for future sediment management issues.Download here.

• DGE Part IV: Status of ecological assessment ond relocation sites in Germany and The Netherlands (December, 2006)
The possible impact of dredged material handling on the animal communities in the aquatic environment (sediment and water) is an important aspect of ecological (risk) assessment. DGE produced a report in which current tools and procedures in Germany and The Netherlands are compared; particularly regarding the impact of dredged material management on fauna which is an in situ indicator of ecological changes in waters. Great emphasis is put on macrozoobenthos, as this is the group of organisms with most direct effects caused by dredging and relocation. Special attention has also been given to the relation with the implementation of the water framework directive. Download here.

• DGE Part V: Status of ecotoxicological assessment of sediment and dredged material in Germany and The Netherlands; with a short description of the situation in Belgium, France and Great Britain (March 2007)
In the recent past a major change in investigating and assessing the environmental risk of sediments and dredged material has started. The use of ecotoxicological methods (like bioassays) play a decisive role in this change. Currently, various bioassays for marine and freshwater organisms are in use and under development. Bioassays are becoming more and more crucial in decision making frameworks for sediment remediation and the handling of dredged material. Ecotoxicologists from DGE made a comparison of the current practice in Germany, The Netherlands and other DGE countries with respect to the use and development of bioassays and ecotoxicological risk assessment as a whole. Special attention is given to the relation with the implementation of the water framework directive and with environmental risk assessment approaches. Download here.

• Assessment Criteria for Dredged Material with special focus on the North Sea Region (June 2011)
Dredged material placement in the marine environment is regulated by international conventions, like the London Convention, OSPAR, Helcom, etc. One important element of the specific guidelines is the assessment of the contamination of the sediments to be dredged. These criteria are not set internationally; the implementation and the setting of assessment criteria is within the custody of each country. The paper gives on overview on chemical and ecotoxicological criteria set in the national regulations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway, and Spain. In the second part of the document an indicative, graphical comparison between national standards is presented. The paper does not describe all other guidance included in the frameworks, for this is referred to the specific documents. References and web links are given.
The paper was prepared within Hamburg Port Authority with support from members of the DGE network. Download here.