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Major Dredge Project Underway on Oklahoma River in OKC

Posted on March 29, 2024

The growth of sediment in the Oklahoma River where it flows through Oklahoma City is the target of a major dredging operation.

City workers have started the process of removing dirt and sediment build-up to keep the river in peak operation, according to a report by the city’s Public Works Department.

“Our river boats have a narrow margin of clearance,” Jess Shumway, River Maintenance Manager said. “If we allow the river to fill with sediment it raises the bottom of the river and decreases the water capacity, then the boats begin to run aground.”

Current methods of dredging require the majority of water to be drained from the work zone. In the photo above contractors remove excess sediment with large construction equipment. The waterlogged sediment is hauled out of the river and placed in a nearby area to dry-out before disposal.

“Dredging is an expensive, invasive and ugly process,” Shumway said. “We recently purchased a floating hydraulic dredge that is less invasive and can remove sediment while the river is at full capacity.”

The new river dredge is operated by City employees and almost undetectable unless you know what to look for. Dredging areas are carefully selected to set-up large hoses through drainage channels to avoid blocking sidewalks and bike paths. The sediment slurry is pumped into the holding areas to dry-out before disposal.

New dredge operations are expected to require a year-round effort to keep up with the accumulation of sediment in the river.


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