BURLINGTON, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is spending about $20 million to remove sediment from the reservoir that serves as the primary water source for a nearby nuclear power plant and several communities.
The Wichita Eagle reports the project seeks to remove about 3 million cubic yards of sediment from the bottom of John Redmond Reservoir, which provides water for the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant and for several communities.
The dredging process is expected to take about a year.
The Army Corps of Engineers says the project is the first of its size for a corps reservoir and could serve as a model for other reservoir dredging projects in Kansas and around the U.S.
Mike Abate, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers chief of civil works for the Tulsa district, said “I think a lot of people across the nation will be watching how this goes, seeing if it brings life back to a reservoir.”
The Kansas Water Office says the dredging project is being paid for with money borrowed through 15-year bonds.
Tracy Streeter, director of the state’s water office, says sediment has filled in more than 40 percent of the lake.
According to Kansas Biological Survey deputy director, Jerry deNoyelles, 11 of the state’s 24 federal reservoirs are filling at a rate that will have them half filled with sediment by the end of the century.
“John Redmond is one of the worst, and there’s Tuttle Creek and Kanopolis,” deNoyelles said.
One of the challenges of the dredging process is where to place the sediment once it’s collected.
“It’s a very fine material, and it’s lost most of its nutrients. It doesn’t make really good soil. It’s not bad, either, but it’s not good enough someone is going to want to buy it. Mostly you’d have to pay a landowner to let you spread it on his property, or place it in a large pit, “said deNoyelles.
Planners will use more than 20,000 feet of pipe to send the 3 million cubic yards of material to earthen containment structures on land, much of which is federally owned, below the reservoir’s dam.
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