Reservoir Sediment Removal: Hydrosuction Dredging

by Rollin H. Hotchkiss, (A.M.ASCE), Univ of Nebraska, Lincoln, United States,
Xi Huang, Univ of Nebraska, Lincoln, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Hydrosuction dredging is a relatively little-known method of removing sediment deposits from reservoirs. The method is similar to traditional hydraulic dredging except the difference between the upstream and downstream water levels provides the energy for the system instead of a mechanical pump, and the removed sediment is discharged into the receiving stream downstream from the dam. Removing sediment deposits from reservoirs entails technical and environmental issues. Fieldwork from Lake Atkinson, Nebraska, on the Elkhorn River, serve to illustrate the issues. The technical problem involves the design of a system with multiple unknowns. The system should be designed to remove sediment at the same rate that it enters the reservoir with a minimum head loss. Equations are presented for determining the required pipeline fluid velocity and the maximum sediment concentration in the pipe. Environmental issues include dealing with low dissolved-oxygen discharge into the river, increased turbidity, and potentially contaminated sediments. These issues are briefly addressed. Regulatory agencies play a role in determining the adequacy of any plan that changes river characteristics. The Nebraska experience is related as a positive example of how to proceed with full regulatory endorsement.

Subject Headings: Sediment | Reservoirs | Water discharge | Rivers and streams | Dredging | Fluid velocity | Dissolved oxygen | Nebraska | United States

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