Reservoir clean-up in Tarragona

This major project involves the removal of chemical contamination from the Flix reservoir in the northern Spanish region of Catalonia.

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The ‘Removal of chemical contamination at the Flix Reservoir’ project will see sludge extracted and drained out, as well as buildings constructed to house equipment and machinery for treating and storing the extracted material.

Turning back the tide of build-up

Over time, the Flix reservoir in Tarragona has accumulated sludge and contamination, to the point where action needs to be taken to remove and dredge it. In response to this, and also the need to ensure safe water for local populations, decontamination targets have been established for the dredging of sediment and contaminated water. Given the size of the project undertaking, a large number of jobs will be created: 200 direct jobs while the works are being carried out (average duration 4 years), a further 10 once the system is up and running (average duration 30 years).

Works pave the way to clean water

In preparation for the dredging, several phases of work need to be carried out, namely: isolating the area of the reservoir in which the contaminated material is located; blocking off and protecting the right bank of the reservoir throughout the section from which the contaminated material is to be removed; intercepting and diverting surface water and groundwater arriving at the right bank; constructing buildings to house the equipment and machinery for treating the solid material and extracted water and also to house extracted material before and after treatment; installing a conveyor belt to move the treated material from the treatment plant to the landfill site; and finally, establishing and sealing a landfill site, which extends an existing one in the Racó de la Pubilla area.

Once the preparation works have been completed, the contaminated material will be extracted and dredged, then transported away for treatment. Following the treatment process, the material will be taken away and deposited in the landfill site.

Regeneration strategy brings added security

The project also encompasses a regeneration plan for the area. The aim of the plan is to ensure that people living downstream from the reservoir can continue to be supplied with water in the event of localised contamination from the River Ebro.


Draft date

15/02/2011