When sediment accumulates at a bottom of a lake, river, or harbor, the process of excavating this material is referred to as dredging. Dredging stimulates economic growth as the process creates safe passage in waterways for vessels that import and export goods into and out of the country. Dredging also mitigates many environmental threats as the process can reduce the risk of hazardous substances in our waterways.
As we discussed in the first part of this three-part series, there are many benefits to dredging including flood prevention and land reclamation projects. In this section, a Jacksonville construction attorney will discuss how dredging is performed and how to coordinate a dredging construction project.
Understanding the Removal Process
Essentially, a dredge is a pump that is utilized to remove the sediment from either the bottom of a body of water or the banks of the water. The first step is lowering “the boom” to the bottom of the waterway. As we will discuss in the third part of this series, there are many different types of dredges. Some dredges cut into the surface of the sediment and loosen it up; whereas, other types of dredges merely pump the debris away. Generally, the boom is lowered to the bottom of the ocean, pond, or river and then the sediment is loosened using the teeth of the large shovel. Once the sediment is loosened, the material is pumped away to be used elsewhere.
Coordinating a Sediment Removal
Construction in a marine environment can be complex. It’s critical that contractors fully understand the process of both removing and dumping sediment. If this process is performed incorrectly, it can impact the surrounding ecosystem. This is why dredging projects require compliance with a variety of federal, state, and local laws and also require permitting on the federal level. When dredging, consider the following things:
- Preplanning: Although some research projects claim that dredging may be detrimental to the ecosystem, when properly executed, dredging can be extremely helpful to the ecosystem of the area. With that being said, it’s critical that site investigations are performed before beginning a dredging project to confirm that the material being removed will not negatively impact the surrounding environment.
- Things to Consider: It’s critical during the planning process that everything involved in the process is closely analyzed. This includes the site location, the depth of dredging being performed, and the type of material being excavated. Another important issue is where will the removed material be transported to and how the presence of this debris being relocated will impact its new environment.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.