Dredges Are Necessary For Shipping

Environmental Blog

Maintaining waterways and harbors is important. Silt and other debris naturally works its way down into rivers, canals, channels, and harbors and collects. As it collects, it raises the bottom of the waterway. That will change the depth of that particular waterway. That can make it so it is less navigable, keeping out certain ships. When that happens, the area needs to be dredged. Dredging involves using a dredger that can clear away all the silt and the debris on the bottom of the waterway. There are a number of kinds of dredges that can be used. 

Mechanical Dredges

These dredges depend on purely mechanical means to remove the dirt. They are similar to the kinds of shovels that would be used on solid ground too. These dredgers generally have some kind of scoop or bucket that is used to scoop up the silt and debris. Then the bucket is lifted out of the water so that the bucket can be emptied. The debris goes into a barge or scow so that it can be hauled away, or it can be placed in dump trucks on the shore if the dredger is close enough. These dredgers can do the job fairly easily, but there are drawbacks. One is that mechanical dredgers will stir up fine material and cause it to obscure the waterway. 

Hydraulic Dredges

These dredgers use suction and hydraulics to get the debris and silt off the bottom of the waterway and transport it to the barges to be carried away. A hydraulic centrifugal pump is dropped down to the bottom of the waterway and turned on. The pump can be repositioned as necessary. Suction dredges also often have a water jet pump as part of the assembly. That cuts into the area to be dredged and loosens up the silt and debris so that it can be sucked up. Divers may also work with these dredges in order to help keep the flow moving well. These dredges don't work well in areas that have consolidated materials that are tightly packed together or places where it's necessary to dig deep pits. 

It is necessary to make sure that waterways, harbors, and channels stay open. Shipping is still a major way to move cargo around, and ships need to be able to get in to load and unload their cargo. Dredges are the necessary tool to keep everything open.  


15 April 2022

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