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Dredge Sidelined Again, But Successful Season Still in Sight

Posted on September 27, 2016

By Dana Larsen, Pilot-Tribune

The Storm Lake dredge has hit another snag, losing precious hours late in the season.

The dredge went down on Sunday, and hopes were to have it back operational by the end of the day Tuesday.

City infrastructure director Jason Etnyre said that the issue was with the hydraulics system, causing the vegetable-based oil used in the dredge to break down. The entire system needed to be flushed including the holding tank, replacing some 300 gallons of the costly oil.

The problem is especially frustrating because the dredge and its crew were operating so well just before the breakdown. “It was really going to town,” Etnyre said.

The dredge has been sidelined eight to 10 times this season with mechanical issues, including a previous incident requiring the flushing of the holding tank. The age of the boat may be catching up to it. It was well used when it came to Storm Lake in 2002.

“We can’t seem to catch a break,” Etnyre said. “But if we can get up and running, I think we could still be okay on our production goals for the season.”

Evidence of the season’s progress can be seen in the spoil site, which is attracting a lot of migrating waterfowl. “There have been pelicans, herons, I saw my first bald eagle the other day,” Etnyre said. “It is quite the ecosystem.”

The dredging season will continue for as long as weather cooperates. “The Dredge America operator told us last year that he would keep going even if they had to break ice to get into the harbor. That should apply this year as well. We will go as long as the conditions allow – we’d like to hope for 60 days, which would put us close to Thanksgiving,” Etnyre said.

Typically, the lake freezes over around the week of that holiday.

Source: Pilot Tribune

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