Editors’ Blog

Next generation dredging

By |  November 8, 2016
A Streamside Technology collector like this one is buried in the Cuyahoga River behind Kurtz Bros.' facility in Independence, Ohio. The sediment collected in the grate is pumped ashore and processed into a near concrete sand.

A Streamside Technology collector like this one is buried in
the Cuyahoga River behind Kurtz Bros.’ facility in
Independence, Ohio. The sediment collected in the grate is
pumped ashore and processed into a near concrete sand.

Portable processing equipment is seemingly everywhere at Kurtz Bros. Inc., a bulk landscape material supply company in the Cleveland area that also offers services related to recycling, construction waste disposal and the environment.

Some of Kurtz Bros.’ most unique equipment is situated behind its facility in Independence, Ohio, where a plant containing a dewatering screw is positioned alongside the Cuyahoga River. Not far from that plant is another unusual piece of equipment that takes the shape of a speed bump.

This 30-ft.-long “speed bump” has a special purpose. It’s a fully automated collector that captures sediment on the riverbed as it moves downstream. At Kurtz Bros., which is featured in depth on page 16 of this issue, that sediment is processed into salable concrete sand.

According to Jason Ziss, who manages business development at Kurtz Bros., the sediment-collecting technology can be effective in a number of applications.

Jason Ziss, manager of business development at Kurtz Bros., stands next to the company's screw dewatering plant that receives Cuyahoga River-harvested sediment. In another shot, Ziss shows the processed sand that emerges from the plant.

Jason Ziss, manager of business development at Kurtz Bros.,
stands next to the company’s screw dewatering plant that
receives Cuyahoga River-harvested sediment.

“I see this equipment as a really good fit for people who are doing pit work, especially people who are dredging rivers,” Ziss says.

Randall Tucker, president and CEO at Streamside Technology, agrees about the technology’s market potential. Tucker began to develop the technology more than 20 years ago after sediment filled a favorite fishing hole of his in Michigan. With a research-and-development background, he devised a series of technologies to provide solutions to river and stream sedimentation issues.

Now, Tucker has a number of sediment-collecting projects in the works across the United States and Canada. Perhaps of more interest to portable plant operations, however, is this new method of “dredging” material that can ultimately be processed in portable systems.

“This is the next generation for those people,” Tucker says.

Jim White, the director of sustainable infrastructure programs at the Port of Cleveland, is also enthusiastic about the possibilities of the technology for his agency. The port received a $1 million grant this year to provide a viable alternative to open lake dumping of river dredge sediment at a local disposal facility. Some of the funds were applied to the sediment-collection system.

Jason Ziss shows the processed sand that emerges from the  plant.

Jason Ziss shows the processed sand that emerges from the
plant.

“Part of the thing we like about the bedload collector is it relies on the natural energy of the river to carry the bedload into the hopper, and then it sorts it for us,” White says.

White can see other Cleveland-area ports transitioning from traditional dredging to sediment collecting, as well. He also sees an opportunity to generate additional salable materials if the right partnerships are established.

“If we treat the confined disposal facility more like a sand operation, could we be putting [material] more through a shaker system to yield more high-quality material and graded material for different market uses?” White says. “We can, in fact, segregate this material, but if we can run it through one more process as we harvest it, we could have higher merchant value.”

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