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River Dredging & Maintenance

Ellicott Dredges designs, manufactures and delivers small and medium-sized portable dredges ideal for a wide variety of river dredging projects. Our Ellicott Dragon® series of cutterhead suction dredges are available in a variety of sizes and digging depths, and are suitable for dredging loose and compacted soil types and materials, such as sand, gravel, silt, and clay. These portable river dredges can be used for a variety of small- to large-scale river dredging projects, including flood mitigation and channel maintenance.

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People living in major cities throughout the world depend upon rivers as sources of food, fresh water, and transportation. Over time, silt, sediment, and other deposits accumulate, often obstructing or altering a river’s natural flow, and vitality. River dredging projects are designed to curtail erosion, deepen navigational channels, and provide flood mitigation.

Preventing Erosion

When a river channel is disturbed, riverbanks in other parts of the river begin to slowly erode as sediment from the initial point of contact gradually flows from that site to one farther down the river. As a result, a river’s speed increases, causing severe riverbed and riverbank erosion to occur, weakening other parts of the river channel. Over time, sediment deposits increase the worsening conditions of a river system.

Dredges are used to remove excessive sediment from the river. Eliminating this sediment reestablishes channel width and depth, stabilizing the surrounding embankment, and curtails future shoreline erosion.

Maintaining River Channel Depth

River channels gather natural and manufactured debris over time, which requires frequent maintenance dredging to maintain proper channel depth. As sediment increases at the bottom of the river, it reduces the depth of the river.

Dredges are commonly used to eliminate excess sand, silt, and sediment from a river channel allowing boats and other vessels to navigate a river safely.

Flood Mitigation

Rivers that are not maintained collect a tremendous amount of silt, sand, and sedimentation, which can cause the river to bottleneck. Bottlenecking limits a river’s ability to flow naturally and to cause water levels to rise in other parts of the river and exceed its riverbanks. When an excessive amount of water enters a sediment-filled watershed at a rapid pace, flooding occurs.

River dredging doesn’t prevent flooding, but it does diminish some of the associated risks.  Dredging is crucial to preserving the natural flow of a river and reduces the potential of a likely disaster from occurring in cities that are prone to reoccurring flooding during rainy seasons.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina dredges were used to dig a deeper river channel and remove excess sediment from the Salado River Basin in low lying areas where flooding occurs. Some parts of the river were difficult to reach, but crews were able to dismantle and reassemble the dredges allowing teams to continue dredging in hard to reach locations along the river. Sand that was removed during the project was used to improve lowlands and enhance elevation along the riverbanks to curtail future floods.

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