Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Beached whales? Yorktown (5/2/2014)

The first thing a lot of people at the marina said when they saw this was "they look like beached whales; next thing is that they are going to explode."  I actually remember that there was something in the news during that period about exploding whales.  A quick search on line shows a plethora of webpages and videos. 

Actually these are dewatering bags from the dredging operation we had at our marina.  Silt sacks or dewatering bags are commonly used in erosion and sediment control, and I should know that.  I teach erosion and sediment control for a living.  People involved with erosion and sediment control in Virginia need to be certified and during the past 5 years, almost all new certificate holders in Virginia have been to classes taught by me somewhere in this great state.  I used to manage the program, but they moved our program from one department to another, and their training group already had a manager, which resulted in me having to scale back my responsibilities.  This is probably very much like what some people experience in a merger.  It is not necessarily negative, but you have to get used to it.  I could write books about it, but it was interesting to see how people were jockeying, lobbying and politicking to weasel themselves ahead of others; while others just decided to leave and go work somewhere else.

During the past two weeks our marina was dredged by an hydraulic dredge.  These machines look like a giant vacuum cleaner that stir up the sediment and then suck it up.  The mud was pumped to these bags, which are now left to drain and dry out.  Initially water was poring out, and it has already slowed down to a trickle.  At first the water that comes out is fairly clean, but later on it gets dirtier.  This is expected since these bags need to drain and some of the clay particles are so small that they readily pass through the pores in the bags.  After 6 to 9 months these bags will have dried enough to cut open, spread and be seeded.  Naturally right now they do not look that nice, but eventually we'll have a small higher area in the field, which I expect will subside somewhat. 

It was an interesting project to help permit and to watch.  I learned a lot by watching the progression of this project in the past two years.  But at least my slip now has a depth of 5 feet, compared to 3 feet and 10 inches before.  Hopefully I can go out now when the tide is extremely low.

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