International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

When looking for a way to introduce his tailings dewatering machine to the U.S. Australian David Smirk found PIANC’s Dredging 2015 on the Internet. “Moving and Managing Sediments” the theme of the conference was exactly what he could do. He booked an exhibit booth for his company Residue Solutions and technical manager Leon Munro submitted a technical paper which was accepted.

At the show Smirk and Munro were lavish in their praise of the event which gave their low-ground-pressure machine dubbed the MudMaster® valuable exposure to dredged sediment experts and managers. They came away with at least one order for their services to speed the dewatering of fine dredged material in a large settlement pond and many expressions of interest for future projects.

Other companies exhibited new and existing technology and took the opportunity to be on hand to talk to the dredging and sediment management community.


David Smirk left president of Residue Solutions and Leon Munro technical manager. Munro gave a technical presentation on the company’s low ground pressure machine for use in dewatering fine dredged material.

Kruse Controls and Ellicott Dredges teamed up to demonstrate the dredge simulator that Jay Wise of Kruse Controls had engineered to help train help train Ellicott’s customers. Three flat screens offer an operator’s eye view of the dredging area. Joysticks mimic the actual operator’s panel and displays show ladder position cutter and pump speed and other readouts needed by an operator. Attendees lined up to try their hand at operating a dredge with Wise Paul Quinn and Steve Miller of Ellicott on hand to explain the operation.

Mapping bottom sediment is a major part of the dredging process. John Sawyer of Arc Surveying and Mapping recreated a hydrographic survey report in his booth from an ongoing project in Freeport Grand Bahama Island. The upper part of the booth was a screen capture of topographical data acquired from the survey boat using a Riegl VZ-400 laser scanner. Along the bottom of the booth was a line of bathymetric data acquired by a Reson SeaBat 7125  multibeam sounder. The topographic and hydrographic surveys were completed simultaneously Sawyer said.


Arc Survey’s booth included a screen capture of an actual survey with topographical data in the upper portion and a multibeam read-out on the lower portion. The surveys were completed simultaneously on a project at Freeport Grand Bahama Island.

“Data were collected and processed in HySweep and Arc created a 3D model of the survey in Polyworks providing the port authority with an interactive model of the construction site. The user can obtain xyz data anywhere in the model by moving a cursor to the point of interest” Sawyer said. This waterfront survey was accomplished in one day he said. Data processing modeling and mapping were complete within a week.

Ed Trainer and Tom Stephens of TenCate demonstrated a sample of a Geotube with a composite exterior. The robust rough surface adds resilience to the filled tubes which are filled in place with dredged material to create a berm as much as six feet high. It comes in sand color for beaches and green to blend in with vegetation and will even support some vegetation that springs up in sediment trapped on the surface.

Rami Weidenfeld and Zohar Leman of ICL/Dead Sea came from Israel to attend the conference. The company mines salt and potash from the Dead Sea and was looking to purchase a dredge to manage the distillation ponds. Leman is a PIANC Young Professional.


Andrew Timmis vice president of business development for Cashman Dredging which sponsored the PIANC Young Professionals activities.

Antonio and Omar Lopez are a father and son team who run Commercial Divers Inc. in Puerto Rico who are on call around the clock to handle emergencies in the marine sector. Besides diving to assess damage and do underwater repairs the company has barges and lifting capability to clear damaged equipment. During the show Antonio received news that a tanker had elided with a fixed navigation beacon in the entrance channel to a Buckeye marine terminal in Puerto Rico destroying the steel tripod. While the Coast Guard placed a temporary buoy divers from the Lopez company were on hand within hours to assess the damage and Antonio was on the phone from Savannah managing the deployment of sectional barges cranes and a pushboat to the site.

Technical presentations covered the gamut of regulations science contaminated sediment management and related topics. Following are  descriptions of a few:


Rami Weidenfeld left and Zohar Leman of ICL/Dead Sea are dredging managers for the Israeli salt mining operation and were looking at dredging equipment in the U.S.

Robert Ramsdell production engineering manager for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock presented a discussion of the Delft Head Loss and Limit Deposit Velocity Model developed by analyzing old models and using four main regimes: fixed or stationary bed transport sliding bed transport heterogeneous transport and homogeneous transport. A book describing the new model plus related software will be available at the World Dredging Conference in Miami in June 2016.

Nicole LaFranchise combined two important topics with her talk on Beneficial Use and Sustainable Management in the Pacific Northwest. She presented case studies of how Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality’s 2010 Beneficial Use rules have been applied to sediment management projects and how in Washington State the Department of Ecology’s Solid Waste rules provide an exemption for the beneficial use of solid waste when the approved use “presents little or no risk to human health or the environment.”

Dr. Nicholas D. Gennaro presented a compelling discussion of the concept of creating a new Mississippi River outlet above the Head of Passes which would shorten the channel from the Gulf to New Orleans and allow natural channels in the historic river delta to be restored.


Nicole LaFranchise discussed the pros and cons of environmental regulations relating to Superfund Site remediation and beneficial use in Oregon and Washington.

Matt Houston described the EPA 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) and pending sVGP (small vessel) regulations which require use of readily biodegradable oil and grease products in all applications on the water. He is marketing manager for lubricant manufacturer RSC Bio Solutions.