Savannah’s Silt Suspension System Allows it to Maintain 48 Feet - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Savannah’s Silt Suspension System Allows it to Maintain 48 Feet

Press Release

Savannah, Ga. – May 14, 2010 The Georgia Ports Authority's Executive Director Curtis J. Foltz announced today that the silt suspension system, used to maintain 48 feet at four of the Garden City Terminal berths, was recently modified to also increase oxygen levels in the river.

"I am proud to report that Garden City Terminal already offers 48 feet at four of its berths, allowing Savannah to accommodate post-Panamax ships today," said Foltz. "While the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project is essential to the Port of Savannah's future growth, maintaining 48 feet at berth enables the GPA to accommodate larger vessels, which are beginning to call on East Coast ports in anticipation of the Panama Canal Expansion."

The GPA now has a silt suspension system consisting of 15 units online at Garden City Terminal. These units substantially reduce the need for maintenance dredging at the berths. The computer-controlled system produces a low-velocity flow that works in tandem with passing tidal currents to keep water moving near the berth, resulting in reduced siltation. The silt suspension units use hydraulic motors driven by vegetable oil.

"The new air-injection system is an elegant combination of two technologies," said GPA's Senior Director of Engineering and Facilities Maintenance Wilson Tillotson. "It uses silt suspension to disperse natural sediment into the river and assists with the absorption of oxygen into the water."

The modified silt suspension unit in Berth 9 injects oxygen into the marine environment. By gently introducing air into the river, dissolved oxygen is added into the water and protects aquatic life from potential diminished oxygen levels. This air-injecting unit operates from May through October, when the dissolved oxygen levels are naturally diminished in the Savannah River.

"Once again, the GPA is demonstrating its commitment to the environment," said GPA's Chairman of the Board Stephen S. Green. "Improvements like these ensure Georgia's role in global commerce as a gateway for American-made products."

Georgia's deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 286,476 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $14.9 billion in income, $55.8 billion in revenue and $2.8 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia's economy.

Source:Director of External Affairs

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