Winterbeek II - Biota Sampling and analyis for the follow-up of the environmental remediation works on the Winterbeek

Project Details


From 2017 onwards, the Flemish government, in collaboration with Tessenderlo Chemie NV, will be carrying out remediation work in and along the Winterbeek. The aim is to create a clean Winterbeek with new opportunities for nature and agriculture in the valley area and a safe living environment for residents and recreationists. The remediation works will be spread over a period of several years, with one section being excavated annually. More information about the remediation works on the winterbeek can be found at

Due to the high concentrations of heavy metals and mercury in the water bottom of the winter stream, there is a chance that these substances will be released in large quantities during the execution of the remediation works. It is therefore necessary that the effects of the remediation on water quality are closely monitored.

VMM closely monitors the water quality of the waterways concerned, namely Winterbeek, Grote beek, Hulpe and Zwart water, both for the remediation works and during and after the works.

Analyses in biota are a good surrogate for estimating ecotoxicological risks of heavy metals on the aquatic fauna present. In order to obtain an accurate picture of these effects, such bioaccumulation measurements are preferably carried out before and after the remediation work.

Just before the start of the remediation work, the UA and INBO consortium measured heavy metals for the first time in various biota from the Winterbeek (Bervoets et al., 2018). This study serves as a reference for the start of the remediation works (T0).

In the meantime, two of the four sections of the Winterbeek have already been completely remediated. The third section will also be cleared in 2020. The aim of the present study is to repeat the measurements from the T0, and to see whether any effects of the remediation are already noticeable on the accumulation of heavy metals in biota from the Winterbeek. The study includes taking and analysing samples of heavy metals in biota at the Winterbeek in the spring of 2021, as well as the reporting of the obtained measurement results and a comparison with the results of the T0.
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/12/23

Thematic List 2020

  • Water