Natural-based solution to mitigate flood risk due to SAND BOILs reactivations along the Po River – LIFE SandBoil

LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency


LIFE SANDBOIL (Natural-based solution to mitigate flood risk due to SAND BOILs reactivations along the Po River) is a project coordinated by the DICAM Department and funded by the European Community within the LIFE programme.

The project involves three other partners: the Interregional Agency for the Po River (AIPo), the Italian company Officine Maccaferri Italia srl, and the North-Transdanubian Water Directorate (ÉDUVIZIG), the latter being a public body in Hungary responsible for the implementation of flood protection strategies and the monitoring along a segment of the Danube River and the relevant tributaries.

The main objective of the project is to mitigate the risk of backward erosion piping in river embankments during high water events. The onset and development of the phenomenon, which is typically revealed by the occurrence on the ground surface of the so-called sand boils, may gradually progress toward the riverside and lead to the collapse of the river embankment.

The LIFE SANDBOIL project aims at developing an innovative, sustainable, natural-based and cost-effective engineering solution to stop the progression of backward erosion piping. The proposed countermeasure can be seen as an integrated solution, since it combines a mitigation technology with a fully automated monitoring system intended to assess the long-term effectiveness of the installation.

The different activities of the LIFE SANDBOIL are primarily aimed at validating the prototype of the technology, through a multi-step process involving both small-scale physical modelling in the laboratory and a full-scale experiment in a pilot site. After validation, the technology will be implemented in an embankment of the river Po affected by frequent reactivations of “historical” sand-boils. Finally, the intervention will be replicated in Hungary, in a sub-basin of the Danube controlled by ÉDUVIZIG. In this way, a complete and qualified market-ready system, suitable for large-scale implementation, is expected to have been obtained by the end of the project.

Durata del progetto/Project duration


Responsabile scientifico per il Dipartimento

Laura Tonni

Other departments involved

DISA Department (Unibo)


DICAM University of Bologna


Total Budget: 2.831.933 €
UE Contribution: 1.552.062 €

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