Life Sand Boil

Natural-based solution to mitigate flood risk due to SAND BOILS reactivations along the Po River

Life Sand Boil logo


1) The main objective of the project is to mitigate the risk of backward erosion piping by means of an innovative, sustainable, natural-based and cost-effective engineering solution. The intervention is devised to stop the progression of piping beneath the riverbank, which might lead to severe erosion and to the collapse of the structure. By reducing the risk of riverbank collapse, the risk of flooding decreases consequentially

2) By demonstrating the technology in operational environment (segment of a real riverbank), the project aims at extending the prototype to industrial scale. As long-term goal, the intervention can be applied to the 130 catalogued Po river segments affected by sand boils and thus minimize the relevant risk over a significantly extended area of the Po basin

3) By demonstrating the technology in a replication site along the Danube river, in Hungary, the project aims at extending the proposed solution to different European river basins affected by sand boils occurrence

4) The intervention and its replications will allow a safer land-use with a strong socio-economic impact due to the consequent economies in terms of emergency management and restoration of potential damages

5) The project aims at providing guidelines for the design of an effective and sustainable engineering solution to mitigate the flood risk from backward erosion piping worldwide

6) The project aims at fulfilling the EU directives with respect to flood risk management. In particular:

i) The project meets the recommendations included in the “Communication on Flood risk management, Flood prevention, protection and mitigation” (COM/2004/0472 final), suggesting a cooperation among the Member States in order to develop and implement a co-ordinated flood prevention, protection and mitigation action programme ii) The project meets the Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and management of flood risks, which was conceived to reduce and manage the risks caused by floods towards human health, environment, economic activity, cultural heritage iii) The project is in compliance with suggestions of the Note by DG Environment “Towards Better Environmental Options for Flood risk management” (DG ENV D.1 (2011) 236452), iv) The projects meets the Italian Directive “Piano di gestione del rischio di alluvioni (PGRA)”, developed by the “Po river basin District Authority (AdbPO)” in application of the EU Directive 2007/60/EC​

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Laura Tonni

Unibo involved Department/s:
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Chimica, Ambientale e dei Materiali
Dipartimento di Scienze Aziendali

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna (Italy)

Other Participants:
Agenzia Interregionale per il fiume Po (Italy)
Officine Maccaferri - S.P.A. (Italy)

Total Eu Contribution: EUR 1.552.062,00
Project Duration in months: 60
Start Date: 01/10/2020
End Date: 30/09/2025

Cordis webpage
Project website

Sustainable cities This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.