- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 05 Oct 2020
Land reclamation, also known as land fill (not to be confused with landfill), is the process of creating new land from sites such as the sea, lakes, riverbeds, and so on. The general aim of land reclamation is to increase the amount of available land that could be put to economic use, such as for agriculture, housing or industry.
Land reclamation methods have been used throughout human history. For example, large parts of Bangladesh and the Netherlands were reclaimed from swamps and marshes.
There are two types of activity that are generally referred to as land reclamation. One is usually in wetland and waterway areas that are modified to convert them into usable land, or sometimes to control mosquitoes, and so on. The other is to restore damaged land to its original state, such as to restore beaches that have been damaged by natural processes. Both activities may require additional processes such as soil remediation and restoration in order to adequately reclaim the land to the point that new uses can take place.
 Methods of reclamation
There are a number of different methods that can be employed for land reclamation purposes, depending upon the type of land, the type of fill material, foundation soil, seabed topography, presence of fine material, and so on.
 Dry method
Perhaps the simplest method involves filling the required area with large and heavy rocks and/or cement, then building up to the required height level using clay or other soil in a process called ‘infilling’. However, this method can be vulnerable to soil liquefaction when there is seismic activity. When granular soil has been used as the fill material, this method usually results in a loose profile of fill, and so densification of the reclaimed land may be required.
This wet method is used when fill material is obtained from an offshore borrow source, but is only suitable for granular soil which has good drainage characteristics. Typically, a bottom-opening barge carries fill material from the borrow source and dumps it at the site location. This is generally suitable for a seabed of 6-8 m depth. The production rate of reclamation using bottom-opening barges will depend on the number of barges being used as well as the distance between the borrow sources and site location.
 Rehandling method
This involves the use of barges to transport and dump fill material in a temporary storage pit which may have a capacity of a several million cubic metres. The location of the rehandling pit is usually selected at a natural depression on a firm seabed or created by dredging.
Fill material is dredged from the borrow source and then pumped through a discharge pipe at the site location, usually with a mixture of fill material and water, adjusted according to the grain size. Direct pumping is possible from the borrow source to the site, sometimes for distances of up to 10 km.
This method is not suitable when the seabed is too shallow or the seabed soil is too soft.
This method is used when there is a shallow seabed or the seabed soil is too soft for hydraulic filling. A spreader is mounted on a small floating barge and sand discharged along with water through perforations in the pipe. The spreader uses a winch system and a bulldozer to move from one end of the site to the other.
 Find out more
Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Myths and top tips.
CLC plans to ease impact of construction inflation.
BG 50 & VDI 2035 – your questions answered.
Will the way we heat homes change when winter comes ?
Can XR technology be leveraged in design & construction?
Or are you capping.
Digital gaming competition for UK students aged 16 to 18.
Heritage protection in England vs Australia.
Three-quarters of fire doors fail inspections
The role of geoparks, biospheres and world heritage sites.
Just one month to go ! Find out more here.
A new gallery for the University of Huddersfield.
What will it take to stop it ?
To celebrate world bee day 2022 !
Not forgetting part F and the new part overheating part O.
As energy prices jump up in cost.
With people in the UK from Ukraine.
Industry leader Steve Murray takes on role.
An abundant and versatile building material.
600,000 heat pump installations targeted per year by 2028.
Helping prevent those unwanted outcomes.