The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District has completed construction of the Dissolved Oxygen Injection System plant on Hutchinson Island and began testing the plant Feb. 14 to verify proper operation.
As part of the testing phase, the Corps released dark-pink colored dye in the Back River Feb. 14 and another dye-release event is planned in the Front River on Thursday, Feb. 21. The dye is used to assist with tracking the path of the oxygen-injected water once it is released from the plant.
Recreational boaters in and around the Back and Front River areas shouldn’t be alarmed as the dye is not harmful to people, plants or fish.
The DO system consists of two plants and employs 12 Speece cones – four downriver at the Hutchinson Island site, and eight at the upriver site near Plant McIntosh in Rincon – and can process about 150 million gallons of water per day.
The system is designed to deliver dissolved oxygen in the river lost as USACE deepens the harbor from its current 42-foot authorized depth to 47 feet.
This system can inject a total of 40,000 pounds of oxygen a day into the river. The oxygen-rich water will compensate for the reduced oxygen levels resulting from the harbor deepening, specifically in the summer when oxygen levels in the water are lower.
The replacement of dissolved oxygen lost to the deepening of the Savannah River forms one of the environmental mitigation actions taken by the Corps for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP).
Deepening the harbor will allow new, larger, more efficient container ships to call on Savannah’s port with heavier loads and with fewer tidal restrictions.
Testing is expected to be completed mid-May.