On February 14, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District completed construction of the Dissolved Oxygen Injection System on Hutchinson Island and began testing the plant to verify proper operation.
As part of the testing phase, the Corps released dark-pink colored dye in the Back River February 14 and in the Front River on February 21. The dye is used to assist with tracking the path of the oxygen-injected water once it is released from the plant.
The system consists of two plants and uses 12 Speece cones – four downriver at the Hutchinson Island site, and eight at the upriver site near Plant McIntosh in Rincon. It can process about 150 million gallons of water per day. The system is designed to deliver dissolved oxygen in the river, which is lost as the Corps deepens the harbor from its current 42-foot authorized depth to 47 feet. This system can inject a total of 40,000 pounds of oxygen a day into the river. The oxygen-rich water will compensate for the reduced oxygen levels resulting from the harbor deepening, specifically in the summer when oxygen levels in the water are lower.
The replacement of dissolved oxygen lost to the deepening of the Savannah River forms one of the environmental mitigation actions taken by the Corps for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).