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Removal of the Black Sludge in the Sandringham Harbour!

Friday, 6th September 2019

We are pleased to announce that the dredge has arrived at SYC and is currently parked in the SYC pond ahead of work commencing on Monday next week. We have been informed that there will be minimal disruptions but if there are any impacts to harbour access we will communicate accordingly!

In the meantime, below is a fact sheet that was produced by Parks Victoria.

Fact Sheet

The “black sludge” that has naturally formed within Sandringham Harbour will soon be removed by dredging. Parks Victoria manage Sandringham Harbour and will be dredging the “black sludge” commencing in early September 2019 for two weeks, to ensure that the harbour and beaches are ready for the busy summer boating season.


“Black sludge” in Sandringham Harbour

In recent years Sandringham Harbour has experienced an accumulation of sand and seagrass in front of the off the beach sailing facilities operated by Sandringham and Hampton Yacht Clubs. As the seagrass decays it forms a putrid smelling “black sludge” in the shallow water. This has been building up over a number of years and has now accumulated to the point where it is impacting on the use and enjoyment of the harbour. A recent technical investigation recommended the best option to remove the material was to dredge the affected areas. Parks Victoria is aiming to commence dredging in early September 2019, subject to favourable weather.

Dredging works

Parks Victoria will dredge about 5,000m3 of sand and decaying seagrass material from in front of the yacht clubs and around the Hampton Pier. The dredge material will be disposed of to the marine environment offshore from the breakwater, as shown in the map below. Any areas of seagrass washed up on the beach will be cleaned up as part of profiling the beach. These works have been funded by the Victorian Government and approved by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Once the dredge is established on site, the works will take about two weeks to complete subject to favourable weather.

Q & A

Why are you dredging in Sandringham Harbour?

There has been an accumulation of rotting seagrass within the shallow waters of Sandringham Harbour, near Hampton Pier, which is impacting on visitor use and enjoyment. Parks Victoria has undertaken a technical study which recommends dredging as the preferred option for the removal of this material.

Where will you be dredging?

The main focus of the dredging program is the area seaward of the Hampton and Sandringham yacht clubs and the area around Hampton Pier. The aim being to remove the decaying material and sand that has accumulated around the pier that is impacting on amenity and navigation.

How long will the dredging take?

The works are expected to take about two weeks to be completed, weather permitting.

Are there contaminants or pollutants in the sediments / “black sludge”?

No. The material is formed by decaying seagrass and seaweed which has accumulated in the shallow calm waters of the harbour. Analysis of the sediment has determined that it is safe for unconfined disposal to the marine environment.

Where is the dredged spoil to be deposited?

The dredge will pump the spoil over the Sandringham Breakwater and deposit it into the water just off the breakwater. The sediments will disperse along the breakwater depending on the wind direction.

Does the dredging program damage the local environment?

The consultants advised that the impacts on the marine ecosystem would be localised, short term and minor. The works will be undertaken in accordance with the Marine and Coastal Act 2018 consent issued by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

How do I manoeuvre around the dredge vessel safely?

Vessel operators are urged to take care when navigating in the vicinity of a dredge vessel and observe all day marks or lights. The dredge is restricted in its ability to manoeuvre during dredging operations. Vessel operators are requested to wait for instructions from the dredge operator to safely navigate during the works. Sand disposal pipes may be floating or submereged around the dredge. Beach goers are also reminded to observe the signage and remain at a distance from the dredge pipeline.

For further information please contact Parks Victoria information centre on 13 1963