Editorial

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Terra et Aqua’s third edition of 2017 spotlights four unsinkable issues facing today’s dredging industry: contaminated site remediation, sediment treatment, port channel optimisation and workplace safety. Whether engaged in the activities of environmental entities or port authorities, professionals confront these challenges daily.

Straddling the boundary between Canada and the United States, Lake Ontario is the most eastern of the Great Lakes and is filled with water which has flowed over the magnificent Niagara Falls and down the Niagara River. The importance of these waterways to ecological cycles is as clear as the water which courses its way into Lake Ontario. But the harbour of the city of Hamilton – about 70 kilometres from Toronto’s skyline – had contamination levels which ran rampant once factories began discharging into its waters. In 1985, Hamilton Harbour was branded an Area of Concern by the Canada-United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Local and municipal authorities drew up plans to remediate the site together and the project officially commenced thirty years later. Involved in the ongoing operation, a team of authors from Environment and Climate Change Canada breaks down the process chosen to clean up Hamilton Harbour’s sediment with a containment strategy.

After industries dump their discharge into a water body, the act of separating impurities from sediment for removal is certainly not easy. Fortunately, for the environment’s sake, researchers have found a way to divorce these co-mingled particles. Enter polymers, tiny aggregates packed with sediment-separating power. Polymer experts explain how to select the polymer type most appropriate for the project at hand as well as its benefits when used correctly. Two dredging projects enhanced by polymers provide the proof: the completed rehabilitation of France’s PortLa-Forêt Harbour and ongoing remediation of Israel’s Kishon River.

As global mobility, emerging markets and well-being increase, the demand for goods also has grown, causing international shipping and trade networks to experience more traffic. Container and cargo ships have consequently supersized and, in response, expansion projects such as the New Suez Canal and Third Set of Locks at the Panama Canal have been executed. From Suezmax to Aframax, the classes of these vessels represent dimensions of epic proportions. Also bearing the brunt of the rapid growth of these vessels are international ports along major trading routes which must be able to accommodate these giant liners. Authors with multidisciplinary backgrounds – a water and environment engineer, technology specialists and a port authority representative – join forces to present a way to model the strategic tailoring of channels to suit these ships.

While dredging companies are faced with facilitating globalised demands, safety comes first in the efforts to achieve their ambition for zero incidents among its workforce. As an extension of its industry support, IADC formed a Safety Committee in 2013 to promote best practices in safety across the industry, guaranteeing a safe and healthy work environment. Two years later, an award was launched to encourage companies as a whole as well as individual employees or teams to increase safety awareness and innovate solutions. This year thirteen submissions for the award span widely-recognised problems and lesser-acknowledged concerns such as mitigating the dangers associated with mooring, preventing falls into open deck hatches without obstructing ventilation, monitoring high-risk spaces with one supervisor from a single control room to name just a few. This September, the winner of the second annual Safety Award 2017 will be unveiled.

I have been invited to give a keynote speech at CEDA Dredging Days, which starts 9 November. During these days, a majority of presenters will pay attention to several technical advancements in the industry. In my speech, I will concentrate on the impact of the progress on the drivers of the industry especially in the context of the organisational developments occurring within dredging companies.

Frank Verhoeven

Frank Verhoeven
President, IADC