Lavon Lake dredging project adds to North Texas water supply

Even as drought lingers and intensifies across the region, the North Texas Municipal Water District will begin dredging two areas of its key reservoir in the next few months, allowing the utility to increase water deliveries by up to 7.2 million gallons a day. An Ellicott 370 Dragon dredge is being used for this project.


The $1.9 million project will remove about 10 feet of accumulated silt around two of the three water intake pipes at Lavon Lake, district spokeswoman Denise Hickey said.

The current water level at Lavon is about 480 feet above sea level. But during the heat of summer, the level can fall 5 to 10 feet through increased usage and evaporation. If the lake level falls to 469 feet, Raw Water Pump 3 would no longer be able to pump water from the lake, Hickey said; at 470 feet, Raw Water Pump 2 would be in the same situation.

“Those are the critical elevations,” she said.

The only remedy then would be bringing in submersible pumps and placing them in the deepest parts of the lake to keep water flowing to the district’s 1.6 million customers, Hickey said.

“You’ll still get water,” she said, “but it isn’t the preferable way.”

The water district approved the dredging project this month and directed the contractor to begin work within 60 days, she said, and Dredge America intends to start as soon as it can.

“They have to do all the staging, getting everything ready,” Hickey said. “My understanding is there are very few pieces of dredging equipment available. And the lake level has to be low enough for them to work. If we get too much rain [in early spring], it makes it difficult to work.”

At this point, Dredge America plans to begin work the week of March 9, Hickey said, and the dredge should be on site by the end of February.

The district is doing similar work at a second reservoir, a $1.8 million project at Jim Chapman Lake, which supplies both the North Texas Municipal Water District and the city of Irving with water.

“Chapman should be finished sometime around the end of summer,” Hickey said.

Five years of drought conditions have exposed broad swaths of dry sand along Lavon’s edges and snaking channels of deeper water through the boggy lake bottom in Lavon’s northern arms. But launching a wide-scale dredging project to deepen the entire lake creates huge environmental problems.

When the district calculated some numbers during drought conditions in 2005-2007, dredging to even modestly increase the lake’s capacity would have produced enough dredge spoils “to cover all of Rockwall County in 3 feet of sediment,” Hickey said.

“And the cost would have been 20 times higher than using any of our other sources of water.”

Source: The Dallas Morning News

Fire Island Dredging Resumes

H&L Contracting resumed dredging operations at Watch Hill on Fire Island this week, according to the National Park Service.

Fire Island

The dredge being used for this project is an Ellicott 1170 Dragon® dredge. The project, aimed at maintaining safe, public access to marina and docking facilities impacted by Hurricane Sandy, was stalled in early January due to severe winter weather and extensive ice in the Great South Bay.

Dredging efforts will be focused on restoring the Watch Hill navigation channel and will be ongoing through March 31. Due to weather delays, portions of the project can no longer be completed during the dredging window and may be completed from October, 2015 to January, 2016.

The dredging project began in December, 2014 and was halted January 8, 2015 as a result of icing in the Great South Bay.

The $2.9 million project, funded through Hurricane Sandy relief aid, was designed to restore Sailors Haven and Watch Hill navigation channels to a width of 100 feet and depth of six feet at mean low tide.

Source: DredgingToday

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Visits Ellicott Dredges

Baltimore, MD – US Treasury Secretary Lew, together with US Senator Ben Cardin (D), MD, visited Ellicott Dredges March 9 at their Baltimore plant for a discussion about US export policies, Eximbank, (the US Government financing entity), and infrastructure investment programs.

Secretary Lew met with senior management from Ellicott including Heiko, Joe and Craig, as well with shop floor employees assembling Ellicott dredges.

The Secretary chose Ellicott for its century plus of leadership in dredge design and manufacturing and involvement in many great engineering projects around the world. These projects include the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, mining sand, and many others.

Secretary Lew interviewed engineers working on new products, and got a demonstration of Ellicott’s state-of-the-art dredge training simulator.

Ellicott Highlights Need for Infrastructure Investment

Ellicott management discussed with the Secretary the importance of various infrastructure funding programs, such as use of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to finance ports and harbors and dredging, as well as the need to re-authorize the US Eximbank. Secretary Lew noted that the Administration fully supports these programs, which are critical in maintaining America’s competitiveness in the international market place. The Administration’s plans for corporate tax reform would fund necessary infrastructure projects.

Secretary Lew in his remarks with Baltimore business leaders after the tour praised Ellicott for its use of apprenticeships and community college courses, as an example of the need for corporations to take an active role in educating and training the American workforce that companies will need to compete in the 21st century.

Duncan Seawall Completes Sawgrass Lake Dredging

Duncan Seawall Dock and Boat Lift recently completed an 18 month, 200,000 cubic-yard hydraulic dredge project as a sub-contractor to Woodruff & Son’s Construction (Bradenton, Florida) for the Southwest Florida Management District at Sawgrass Lake in St. Petersburg, Florida. lake-dredging-duncan-seawall

This sensitive hydraulic dredge project with partially contaminated material required Duncan Seawall to dredge the lake from -2 to -8 feet and required the use of one of its Ellicott hydraulic dredges.

This machine was sized to match the dewatering and material separation plants located adjacent to the lake.

Duncan Seawall specializes in all types of dredge applications using its hydraulic or mechanical dredge equipment and shoreline stabilization projects.

Source: Dredging Today

La draga “Mindi” fabricada por Ellicott Dredges hace más de 70 años, trabaja hoy en día y de forma ininterrumpida en la Expansión del Canal de Panamá

Faltando unos 18 meses para la inauguración del tercer complejo de exclusas, el Canal de Panamá sigue contando con la draga Ellicott “Mindi” fabricada en 1941 para asegurar la finalización de las obras.

dredger-mindi-panama-1La draga “Mindi” se encuentra actualmente operando ininterrumpidamente (24/7) en un área cercana al famoso “Corte Culebra”, con el objetivo de ampliar el radio de un área de giro para las embarcaciones de mayor tamaño que se esperan a partir del 2017.  El CEO del Canal de Panamá, Jorge Quijano, invito a Peter Bowe, CEO de Ellicott a una cena durante la cual comento que “es probable que la draga Mindi cese sus operaciones una vez que el proyecto de expansión termine”. Este dragado es un componente muy importante del proyecto de expansión de más de $5 billones de dólares.

dredger-mindi-panama-2Irónicamente, mientras que la vieja Mindi opera sin contratiempos, una draga más nueva y grande de fabricación europea se encuentra detenida por reparaciones en una zona de mantenimiento de maquinaria del canal.

dredger-mindi-3En la misma área se puede apreciar también una grúa gigante construida por Alemania para la fabricación de submarinos durante la segunda guerra mundial (la misma época en que se construyó Mindi) la cual fue tomada por la marina de los Estados Unidos después de la guerra.  La marina opero esta grúa hasta el año 1998, cuando la vendió al Canal por $1.  La grúa tiene capacidad para 350 toneladas y aún sigue siendo una de las más grandes de este tipo.

dredger-mindi-4Nota final histórica: Durante la licitación organizada por el gobierno de Estados Unidos para la compra de Mindi, Ellicott no fue el postor más barato.  El precio de Ellicott estuvo por encima del de la competencia en aproximadamente 1%, pero fuimos elegidos gracias a nuestro tiempo de fabricación, mucho más corto.  En ese entonces, tanto como ahora, la disponibilidad de dragas es vital!


70+ year old Ellicott Dredge, “MINDI,” works round the clock, 24/7 on Panama Canal expansion

With about 18 months to go before the planned opening of the new third set of locks, the Panama Canal is leaning on its old work horse, the Ellicott dredge “Mindi,” built in 1941!

dredger-mindi-panama-1The “Mindi” is currently working seven days a week near the famed Culebra Cut to widen a turning radius for the new bigger ships expected by 2017. The CEO of the Panama Canal, Jorge Quijano, invited Ellicott CEO Peter Bowe to his house for a special dinner, where he told Bowe, “Maybe we will retire her after the expansion is finished.” This dredging project is an important component in the $5 Billion expansion project.

dredger-mindi-panama-2Ironically at the same moment a newer, bigger, European cutter dredge sits idle nearby in the Panama Canal’s maintenance facility for repairs.

dredger-mindi-3Also in the same vicinity you can see the enormous crane built by Germany for its World War II submarine effort (same time as the “Mindi”!), taken by the US Navy after the war. The Navy operated it for over 50 years before selling it to the Canal for $1 in 1998! This crane has a lifting capacity of 350 tons and is still supposed to be one of the world’s largest of its type.

dredger-mindi-4Final historical note:
Ellicott was not low bidder to the US Government for the “Mindi.” We were high by about 1%, but were evaluated as low bidder due to faster delivery that we offered–then, as now, delivery is valuable!

Eight Ellicott Dredges Prevent Flooding in Veracruz, Mexico


Heavy rains in the state of Veracruz, Mexico between September and October of 2010 led to the overflow of the Jamapa and Cotaxtla rivers. This caused flooding and major damage in the surrounding urban areas, particularly in the municipalities of Medellin and Boca del Rio, south of the city of Veracruz, in the Gulf of Mexico. Facing this situation, the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA) decided to execute an emergency project for the purpose of cleaning, de-silting and preventing further flooding in those rivers. For this project, which included works in more than 12kms along both rivers, CONAGUA contracted separately several experienced dredging companies.


The project required a total of eight cutter suction dredges.  All the dredges were manufactured by Ellicott Dredges and included:

  • Four (4) dredges model 670, with 14” pump and 800 HP of total installed power
  • Three (3) dredges model 370, with 12” pump and 440 HP of total installed power
  • One (1) dredge model 460SL, with 12” pump, 440 HP of total installed power and “swinging ladder” system.

This was a critical project for multiple reasons as it forced the dredge operators to deal with a number of challenges. The first one was the urgency of the job, in order to prevent another flooding event. It was critical to work with experienced contractors utilizing powerful and efficient dredges. The Jamapa and Cotaxtla rivers have strong currents, which made the dredging operation more difficult and required the use of sturdy equipment. In addition to that, both rivers had considerable amounts of trash and debris, which had to be removed as well. Another challenging aspect of the project had to do with the access to the rivers, which made it very difficult to transport and put the dredges in place.

The dredging was performed following the channel requirements determined by CONAGUA, dredging to depths of up to 5m. The dredging was performed following environmental regulations by the Mexican Environmental Agency (SERMANAT). The dredged material consisted of sand, gravel and clay. This material was placed in designated areas to be utilized later on for various purposes.

In spite of the difficulties, the project’s objectives were successfully met. In 10 months, the dredges removed an approximate total of 2 million cubic meters of silted material from the rivers and created the specified channel. The project’s results have been very positive; a proof of this is that to date, no other flooding events have occurred in this area.


The fact that Ellicott made all the dredges used for this project is no coincidence. With more than 125 years in the industry, Ellicott is the leader in design and fabrication of cutter suction dredges. Ellicott dredges are known for having the highest quality and being the most powerful and durable. Ellicott maintains a permanent stock for most of its dredge models – something that is critical when it comes to emergency projects like this one. In addition, Ellicott maintains a strong presence in the Mexican market through its local representative Makisur S.A., with local field service and spare parts availability.

Ocho Dragas Ellicott Evitan Inundaciones en Veracruz, México

Entre setiembre y octubre del 2010, las fuertes lluvias en el estado de Veracruz, México, causaron el desborde de los ríos Jamapa y Cotaxtla. Este fenómeno generó inundaciones e importantes daños para las poblaciones ribereñas, en particular en los municipios de Medellín y Boca del Rio, al sur de la ciudad de Veracruz, en el Golfo de México.   Ante esto, la Comisión Nacional de Agua de México (CONAGUA) decidió llevar a cabo un proyecto para la limpieza, desazolve y prevención de la erosión de dichos ríos. Para este proyecto, el cual incluyó trabajos en más de 12kms a lo largo de los dos ríos, se contrató separadamente a varios contratistas experimentados en el tema de dragado.


El proyecto requirió la utilización de un total de ocho dragas de corte y succión. Las ocho dragas utilizadas fueron fabricadas por Ellicott Dredges e incluyeron:

  • Cuatro dragas modelo 670 con bomba de 14” y 800 HP de potencia total
  • Tres dragas modelo 370 con bomba de 12” y 440 HP de potencia total
  • Una draga modelo 460 de 12” con 440 HP de potencia y sistema “swinging ladder”

Este proyecto fue difícil en varios aspectos, ya que obligó a los dragadores a afrontar una serie de retos. El primero fue la urgencia para la realización del trabajo, esto para evitar que el fenómeno se vuelva a repetir. Esto hizo necesario que se contrate a dragadores muy experimentados, con equipos que puedan trabajar rápida y eficientemente.   Los ríos Jamapa y Cotaxtla tienen fuertes corrientes, lo cual generó dificultades para las operaciones de dragado y requirió que se utilice equipo robusto y diseñado para condiciones duras.  Además de esto, en ambos ríos existe una gran cantidad de madera, basura, etc. lo cual tuvo que ser retirado también. Otro aspecto crítico fue la condición de las riberas, lo cual generó una serie de dificultades para poder ingresar las dragas al rio.

El dragado fue realizado siguiendo los estrictos requerimientos de diseño de talud determinados por la CONAGUA, dragando a una profundidad de 5 metros. El dragado fue realizado además cumpliendo con las normas ambientales determinadas por la Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales de México (SERMANAT). El material dragado consistió de arena, grava y material arcilloso. Dicho material se depositó en lugares especialmente asignados para este fin para ser utilizado luego con fines diversos.

No obstante las dificultades, al final se lograron los objetivos del proyecto. En un periodo de 10 meses las dragas retiraron un total de 2 millones de metros cúbicos de material de ambos ríos, cumpliendo con los objetivos especificados para el diseño del talud. Los resultados del proyecto en general han sido muy positivos, ya que al día de hoy no han vuelto a darse desbordes ni inundaciones.


El hecho que todas las dragas utilizadas para este proyecto sean marca Ellicott no es coincidencia. Con más de 125 años en el mercado, Ellicott es el líder en la fabricación de dragas de corte y succión. Las dragas Ellicott son conocidas por tener la mejor calidad y la mayor potencia y durabilidad. Ellicott mantiene en su fábrica un inventario permanente de la mayoría de sus equipos, lo cual es clave para proyectos de emergencia como este. Además Ellicott tiene una importante presencia en el mercado mexicano a través del representante local Makisur S.A, quienes poseen personal técnico capacitado y stock de repuestos local.

Reprocessing of Mining Tailings (Gold & Silver) with Ellicott Dredges

DOMINICAN REPUBLICHistorically, mining processes with poor recovery rates have resulted in tailings with significant amounts of recoverable material. The extraction of this material can be achieved using dredges.

There are several factors that justify the extraction and re-processing of tailings:

  • Tailings require fewer resources when compared to conventional mining. For example, a dredge can – in a single step – extract and transport the material to a processing plant located even kilometers away. This reduces costs related to capital equipment, labor, fuel and maintenance.
  • Advances in re-processing technology
  • Processing of tailing allows for additional production without increasing a mine’s footprint and without requiring additional land permits.

 Las Lagunas, Pueblo Viejo Tailings Dam

The project is located in the Dominican Republic, 105km north of Santo Domingo. The project owner is Panterra Gold/Envirogold of Australia. The gold and silver tailings were generated from conventional mining operations between 1992 and 1999. The original mining operation’s recoveries were poor (< 30%) and considerable amounts of ore were placed in the dam. The dam has an estimated 5,137 million metric tonnes of ore, grading 3.8 g/t gold and 38.6 g/t silver.

In 2012, Envirogold purchased one standard Ellicott 370 dredge in order to extract the tailings from the dam and pump them to their processing plant.


The dredge was used to extract material at depths of up to 8m and pump them as slurry a distance between 500m and 800m and a terminal elevation of 11m.  The slurry is pumped using a 10-inch HDPE pipe. The dredge generates and pumps slurry with a 28% density.  The tailings have a material Specific Gravity of 2.69 and a wet bulk density of 1.71t/m3.

In order to increase production capacity and to provide more flexibility to the operation, Envirogold purchased a second 370 dredge from Ellicott in 2013.

The dredges currently operate to provide 24 hour per day plant feed, alternating dredges to achieve the production, with a crew of one (1) operator per dredge and two (2) assistants per shift.


In order to better manage material and water from the dredging operation, the dam has been split into smaller sub-sections known as holding ponds. Once a section of the dam has been dredged, the void created is used to redeposit processed tailings from the plant, thus maintaining the dam’s footprint. The dredge operation utilizes the existing water at the dam.  The dredged water is re-circulated back to the dredging pond so no additional water is required.

In the first three months of 2013, the first dredge extracted and pumped approximately 80,000 m3 of tailings to the processing plant.

The Ellicott Series 370 standard dredge is a diesel powered cutter suction dredge with a 12″x10″ pump and 440 HP of total installed power. It is a very powerful, reliable and portable dredge ideal for this type of application. The first unit was supplied with a conventional cutter, while the second unit included a bucket-wheel cutter.


Through a special operations contract, Ellicott Field Service technicians operated the two dredges for a period of 3 months in 2014. This service allowed the client to maximize the production of the dredges and train its operators on best dredging practices.

Market and technological trends make the re-processing of tailings more and more attractive. Due to its capacity to reliably extract large amounts of material and transport them without the need to double handle, a dredge is the ideal workhorse for these projects.  With more than 125 years of experience designing and manufacturing the highest quality, most powerful and reliable dredges, Ellicott Dredges is the right solution!

The Importance of Training Dredge Operators

The Importance of Training Dredge Operators

Written by Andres Borasino, International Sales Manager.

Dredges are expensive machines utilized for the purpose of extracting valuable material and performing various types of important projects. Some of the most common applications are sand dredging, mining, and navigation dredging. Dredge contractors invest enormous amounts of capital in to their dredging operation so it is critical to ensure the maximization of the operation.

Ellicott has had the pleasure of meeting many highly qualified dredge operators in the field.  An effective dredge operator is focused not only on maximizing production, but also on properly operating and maintaining the dredge and associated equipment. These are all necessary aspects in meeting the goals of a project. The capabilities of the dredge operator are as important as the capabilities of the dredge itself.

The good news is the investment required in order to enhance an operator’s skills is very small when compared to the overall project investment. Investing in operator training yields results fairly quickly and the results extend beyond a single project. An effective dredge operator will contribute to reaching a project’s goals as well as extending the operating life and maintaining the value of dredging machinery. Training is crucial for new operators as well as experienced operators dealing with new and/or different dredging conditions. Training on dredge operations is also important for project supervisors and managers who need to have a comprehensive understanding of the conditions affecting the dredge operation. If all relevant employees receive proper training, there will be fewer problems and therefore less unscheduled maintenance during operation. By improving productivity and reducing downtime, the operator will be able to achieve maximum production. Additionally, training will help ensure that the dredge is being operated safely.

A reliable dredge manufacturer should be able to provide this type of support to its customers. At Ellicott we offer dredge simulator training courses and continuous field support and consultation worldwide.  We truly believe in building long-term relationships with our customers, and we believe this is achieved by ensuring that our customers are reaching their goals with our equipment.