Sediment Removal 101: What Is Dredging?
We depend on waterways such as rivers, lakes, harbors and bays for everything from transporting goods to commercial fishing and recreation. Over time, these waterways can become filled with sand, silt and debris — commonly referred to as sediment — that make them difficult to navigate and sometimes pose an environmental hazard.
Dredging is the process used to remove accumulated sediment from the bottom, and in some cases, the banks or sides of the water body. A specialized piece of equipment called a dredge creates a vacuum that sucks up and pumps out the sediment, a technique that is similar to the suctioning method of a household vacuum cleaner.
What Is Dredging Used For?
Sediment removal can serve many valuable purposes:
- Waterway Maintenance: Dredging is an important waterway maintenance step, which is probably its most important application. By removing the accumulated debris, dredging can restore the waterway to its original depth and condition.
- Excavation: Sediment removal plays an important role in the preparation for construction projects such as bridges, docks and piers by performing the necessary underwater excavation work.
- Reclamation: Dredging can remove contaminants that occur due to chemical spills, sewage accumulation, buildup of decayed plant life and storm water runoff.
- Increasing Waterway Depth: As sediment builds up on the bottom of the waterway, it reduces the depth of the water. Dredging strips away the accumulated debris, which can restore the water body to its original depth and reduce the risk of flooding.
- Wildlife Preservation: The sludge and silt that accumulates in rivers, streams and lakes is often filled with contaminants that pose a danger to fish and other aquatic life. Sediment removal is an important environmental process that helps to protect and preserve wildlife.
- Reconfiguring for Larger Ships: By deepening and widening a waterway, dredging can make it passable for larger cargo vessels, which can have a positive economic impact.
- Shore Replenishment: Storms, offshore mining and other natural and human-made disasters can cause a beachfront to erode over time. Dredging can help to restore the beachfront to its original condition.
- Gathering Construction Materials: The sediment removal process is sometimes used to gather sand, gravel and other debris used to make concrete for construction projects.
- Trash Removal: Dredging can assist in keeping waterways clean by removing trash and debris from beneath the surface.
- Mining for Precious Metals: In certain bodies of water, the sediment can contain traces of precious metals such as gold and diamonds. Dredging can aid in excavating this mineral-filled sediment.
GeoForm International: Your Headquarters for Top-Quality Sediment Removal Equipment
GeoForm International is pleased to offer superior dredging equipment that can make the sediment removal process faster and more efficient, regardless of your application. Contact us for more information regarding our ergonomic dredging equipment!