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LIFE CLEANSED logoUnipi Team Leader: Prof. Massimo Losa, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Industriale

Sediments – originating in freshwater basins mainly through erosion processes – are drifted to the coast with the river flow. Along the way, they are contaminated by heavy metals, nutrients from pesticides and other organic micro-pollutants. Every year in Europe 130 million m3 of polluted river sediments are dredged and need to be disposed of in specific and expensive ways (costing up to €7 000/tonne). Moreover, every year 5.2 million m3 of soil are extracted from the ground to support plant nursing activities. To prevent the risk of an 8-10 mm/yr lowering of the ground level, plant nurseries are forced to buy soil from third-party catchments, which are often of poor quality and contribute to soil exploitation elsewhere.

Similar problems are faced by the EU road building industry, whose yearly demand for sand, gravel and aggregates for stability and draining purposes is around 30 million m3, for an average value of €450 million..

The LIFE CLEANSED project will demonstrate, evaluate and disseminate an innovative, integrated, multi-sector approach for the smart and sustainable management of polluted dredged river sediments. Polluted sediments will be dredged, transformed from a contaminated waste into valuable material via a specific decontamination treatment, and subsequently used.


Project Coordinator
Institute for Ecosystem Studies of the National Research Council, Italy


  •  Centro de Edafología y Biología Aplicada del Segura (CEBAS-CSIC), Spain 
  • Università di Pisa, Italy 
  • National Research Council-Institute of Biometeorology, Italy 
  • Navicelli S.p.a., Italy 
  • Università degli Studi di Firenze-Deparment of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences, Italy


Start date: 01/10/2013

End date: 31/03/2016

Project cost 1,655,370.00 €

EU Contribution 827,683.00 €


Project website: 

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