Monday 10th May, 2021

Quarry sand to replenish Adelaide beach

Sand is being carted to South Australian beaches to combat erosion, as part of the State Government’s $48.4 million plan.
Image: Shutterstock

Around 250,000 cubic metres of sand will be sourced from quarries to help rebuild South Australia’s West Beach after decades of erosion.

The move is part of the State Government’s $48.4 million Securing the Future of our Coastline project which aims to protect Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches.

SA Environment and Water Minister David Speirs said the mass replenishment at West Beach is the first major step to delivering 500,000 cubic metres of sand from an external source as well as a long-term solution to saving West Beach.

“Adelaide’s coastline is one connected system, but some of our beaches such as West Beach are experiencing significant erosion,” Speirs said.

“Starting in July we will deliver around 250,000 cubic metres of sand to West Beach from quarries which will bring back the beach in time for summer later this year. This is one of the most significant sand replenishment actions ever, and will provide an environmental, social and economic boost for the western suburbs.

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“We will continue to explore options for the other 250,000 cubic metres to be delivered in the first half of 2022, as well as start construction of a sand pumping pipeline to secure the future of West Beach for the long-term – something the local community has been crying out for years.”

The sand on Adelaide’s coast is naturally moved northward by the wind and waves, causing sand to build up on northern beaches, such as Semaphore. This causes sand loss and erosion along the southern and central coast.

Speirs said the decision to use quarry sand was made because it is readily available and does not have the potential environmental risks associated with dredging sand from offshore sources.

“There is a limited amount of sand in Adelaide’s beach system and to find a suitable external sand source for the large-scale beach replenishment, we’ve been investigating offshore sand deposits as well as land-based sources from quarries,” Speirs said.

“Investigations undertaken in 2020 found that offshore sand deposits at Port Stanvac were not a viable source of sand for beach replenishment. It’s too fine, and the silt and clay content is too high. The environmental risk during dredging is also just too high.

“A successful trial was conducted at West Beach in December 2020 which demonstrated that commercial quarries are a viable source of high-quality external sand with low environmental risks.”

The quarry sand is likely to be delivered from July 2021.