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November 2008

Source: JACK SHAUM, Staff Writer - The Kent Island Bay Times

Ellicott “Swinging Ladder” Dredge
Ellicott® “Swinging Ladder” Dredge in the channel leading into Kentmorr
Pumping water and sand onto replenished beach
Attachment at the end of the pipe is called a spoon and 
disperses the dredged material from the pipe onto the beach
Dredged material being discharged onto the beach
Water and sand are pumped from the spoon at the end of the pipe onto the replenished beach

STEVENSVILLE - The entrance to the channel at Kentmorr Marina is being dredged using a system that is described as "more favorable to marine ecosystems," while at the same time replenishing an adjacent beach.

Kentmorr EcoDredge, a sister company of the marina, uses a "safe, accurate and non-invasive process" to dredge sites that are close to shore, according to its Web site.

"We think we have a better recipe," said Jeff Moore, environmental engineer with Kentmorr EcoDredge. He explained that the company's system uses GPS technology to make its cuts into the bottom and essentially vacuums the material up and sends it through pipes to a location where it can be reused. In this case, it's the beach next to the marina.

A company statement points out that the disposal of dredged material can be difficult because the state bans open-water dumping in the Bay. It also requires that contaminated material from Baltimore harbor be deposited at the state-managed disposal site at Hart-Miller Island, which will stop receiving dredged spoil in 2010.

"It's a hydraulic dredge. Most other dredging is done by mechanical dredges, but this is designed to vacuum off the floor of the Bay," Moore said of the company's system. "A head spins and breaks up the sediment and sucks it up."

Kentmorr EcoDredge's system uses "biodegradable hydraulic fluid and special marine coatings on the hull of the platform, so it is more favorable to marine ecosystems," according to the statement.

In many other dredging procedures, barge-mounted earth-moving equipment using clamshell-type buckets that can leak the scooped material, is used, the company said.

At Kentmorr Marina, the objective is to restore the channel's six-foot depth that has become compromised by accumulated sand and silt. Removal of the built-up material crates cleaner, safer, and more accessible channels, the company says. The work began on October 6th.

"Our aim is to build a beach," with the sand dredged from the channel, Moore explained. "We're replenishing the beach. The beach has eroded over many years. There used to be a strip of sand along the west side of Kent Island, but it has eroded to almost nothing.

Once the sand dries it can be used by local beach-goers, he said.

In instances where silt, rather than sand is dredged, the company pumps it to a geotextile filter that removes the water and leaves the silt available for such projects as erosion control and wetland restoration.

Next spring, during the second phase of the dredging project, the company will remove silt from the rear part of the channel and the marina basin. It has been talking with the Army Corps of Engineers and others about ways to re-use the silt, such as wetlands restoration.

Reprinted from The Kent Island Bay Times

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