Contact Us

For information about the Sullied Sediments project, contact:

Project Lead
Professor Jeanette Rotchell
University of Hull
J.Rotchell@hull.ac.uk 
(+44)1482 465333 


Project Coordinator
Annabel Hanson
East & North Yorkshire Waterways Partnership
annabel.hanson@eastriding.gov.uk
(+44)1482 391678

Autumn 2018

Our partners are busy working on their respective work packages. The fourth sampling campaign was carried out in our three NSR catchments (Elbe, Scheldt and Humber) in October and detailed analysis is underway. This work is helping us build a repository of data which will tell us where certain Watch List substances (and other chemicals) can be found and in what concentrations. Work continues apace on the development of the clean-up solutions using tailored sporopollenin (pollen spores). We are also working on new methods to identify and characterise chemicals found in the sediment samples. In addition to this, our volunteer water sampling activity is going to be tested for the first time - using our bespoke dipsticks and water analysis - in Leeds (UK). For more information about this pilot, check out our latest news article.

Project Summary 

Many of the inland waterways in the European Union are under threat due to the introduction of Watch List chemicals that are not currently regulated under the European Water Framework Directive. These chemicals include the so-called “gender benders” such as estradiol and the contraceptive pill, and other pharmaceutical drugs such as triclosan and diclofenac, which have been shown to be harmful to wildlife. These chemicals are introduced to our waterways as a result of our day-to-day activities and through industry. Regardless of the source, they accumulate in the sediments in our rivers and canals. 


Water regulators and managing authorities do not always know the levels, the locations or the impacts of these pollutants. Nor do they have the tools to assess sediments confidently and make decisions with regard to managing them. An interdisciplinary partnership of scientific experts, regulators and water managers led by the University of Hull (UK) will develop and test new tools to better assess, treat and prevent contamination from these chemicals. This work will be carried out at nine sites, all of which have a history of sediment problems, in the North Sea Region’s Elbe, Humber and Scheldt river catchments.

The aim of the ‘Sullied Sediments’ project is therefore to enable regulators and water managers to make better decisions with regard to sediment management, removal and disposal, thereby reducing economic costs and the impact of these pollutants on the environment.

The partnership will also endeavour to reduce the amount of chemicals entering the water system by raising awareness about what we, as consumers, are releasing into the environment through the use of common drugs and household products. Part of this includes the involvement of volunteers in a sediment sampling initiative across the region, which will inform and empower these citizens as water stewards and champions.

‘Sullied Sediments’ has been has been co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg VB North Sea Region Programme with a grant of 2.043.413 € with equivalent match funding from the partners involved. The project partnership includes public, private and third sector organisations based in the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Latest Project News

Sullied Sediments' communications package developed

21 December 2018
Sustainable NSR

Sullied Sediments' communications package developed

Read more

Our first water sampling activity will be tested with volunteers in December

15 November 2018
Sustainable NSR

On 4 December, we will be trying out our water sampling activity for the first time with volunteers from the Canal and River Trust (CRT). The pilot w…

Read more

Site Visit in Leeds to Develop Sullied Sediments Volunteer Water Sampling Activity

06 September 2018
Sustainable NSR

Sullied Sediments partners from the Canal and River Trust, University of Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Council start to develop the volunteer wate…

Read more

Sullied Sediments second annual meeting coming up in September in Hamburg

01 August 2018
Sustainable NSR

The second Sullied Sediments annual meeting will be held on 19 and 20 September 2018 in Hamburg.

Read more

Sullied Sediments creates innovative 'dipstick'

25 June 2018
Sustainable NSR

We have designed a 'dipstick' that can easily detect phosphate in water and we are now adapting it to detect the watch list chemical, triclosan.

Read more