Dredging Methods - Hydraulic versus MechanicalThe are basically two approaches to dredging, mechanical and hydraulic. Mechanical dredging involves removing sediment with machinery usually with a bucket of some type. The most common types are an excavator or clamshell bucket. Hydraulic dredging includes the use of a pump, usually barge mounted, to move material in a slurry via a pipeline. Both can be very practical and efficient depending on the material type, depth, and location of its destination.
Dredging contractors often try to emphasize one method or the other based on the services they offer and equipment in their inventory. RSI has all types of dredging equipment. We realize that to be efficient and effective in the market there is a demand to employ more than one type of dredging method.
Hydraulic dredging is very cost effective if the sediment is being placed nearby (within a few thousand feet) and there is an area large enough to dewater the slurry and return the clean water. Dewatering technology has improved with the use of dewatering systems or geotextile tubes but the amount of water demands some area to work within.
Mechanical dredging is quick and accurate but is often limited to reach from the shoreline or barge. Long reach excavators can reach from 50-70 feet and draglines a little further but less accurately. Barge mounted machinery must load material into a hopper barge for transport to land. Another option RSI has developed is the use of two types of amphibious dredges.
The RSI amphibious excavator can actually float in the water and walk on land. It can travel up on soft material to remove it without sinking, and even dig while floating. This feature allows for access to basically any site. The second type of amphibious dredge, called a spyder, is capable of walking in 6 feet of water! It has an extendable boom and pivoting bucket for removal in hard to reach places. The "legs" make it capable of walking over seawalls without touching them.
Your project will be assessed by an RSI consultant to evaluate the best means for removal. The objective is to remove material efficiently to save time and reduce cost. Call RSI today for an over-the-phone consultation.
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