Environment SA News

Quarry sand to be used to replenish West Beach

The community will have better access to the beach by the end of 2021 with around 250,000 cubic metres of sand to be sourced from land-based quarries to help rebuild West Beach after decades of devastating erosion.

Quarry sand to be used to replenish West Beach
Around 250,000 cubic metres of quarry sand will be delivered to West Beach from July this year.

The move is part of the $48.4 million Securing the Future of our Coastline project which is protecting Adelaide’s metropolitan beaches.

Project Manager Securing the Future of Our Coastline James Guy said this mass replenishment at West Beach was 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,” James 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 mass replenishment of sand will complement the autumn sand carting which occurs between Adelaide’s northern beaches and West Beach.

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

James 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,” he 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.”

President of the West Beach Surf Life Saving Club Peter Zuill welcomes the government’s plan to deliver new sand to the beach.

“The beach at the surf club has been eroded over time and the clubhouse, coast park and car park rely on a seawall for protection,” Mr Zuill said.

“This replenishment to our beach is positive for our club, the community and everyone who comes to West Beach to enjoy our beautiful coastline.”

The quarry sand is likely to be delivered from July this year and James Guy said the State Government will continue to work with local residents to guide delivery of the Securing the Future of our Coastline project.

“Adding a large volume of sand to West Beach will dramatically improve the quality of the beach, requiring a large number of truck movements to deliver the quarry sand,” he said.

“We acknowledge the trucking can cause a disruption for local residents, however by doing the hard work now during the colder months, we can ensure there’s sandy beaches ready for the whole community to enjoy come summertime.

“We will continue to work closely with the West Beach community during planning and delivery of the works to minimise disruption.”

For more information on the Securing the Future of our Coastline project visit: www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/coasts