Over the last decade, more than 800,000 acres of land were damaged throughout Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a result of the Salado River basin flooding.
For several years, community leaders and politicians have discussed various dredging ideas and solutions such as widening the river and digging a deeper channel in the hopes of reducing potential flooding but had been unable to raise the necessary funding needed to cover the cost of such a massive river-dredging project until recently.
In April of 2017, the World Bank approved a $300 million loan for the flood prevention project. Over the last 18 months, many dredging contractors have spent significant time working to improve flood conditions in the area.
So far contractors have removed over 4 million m³ of sand and sediment from the Salado River using a series of dredges.
Helport and Chediack (UTE), one of the contractors working on the project, decided to use two Ellicott Series 1270 Dragon cutter suction dredges that are ideal for this type of river dredging application.
The 1270 Dragon dredge is capable of reaching dredging depths of up to 50’ (15m). Also, this medium-sized dredge contains an 18” pump and is equipped with two separate diesel engines, one of which is dedicated to the dredge pump for optimal production.
While dredging the Salado River does not guarantee future flooding will not occur, it is one of the most impactful approaches to minimize or curtail future flooding. Once the river is restored to a more natural state through the removal of excess sediment, the water current will flow along its natural pathway at a steadier pace.
In addition, the sand is collected from the river dredging efforts will then be repurposed and used to improve the lowlands, enhancing the terrain elevation, thus also helping to reduce the odds of reoccurring floods in the low-lying communities.