How Much Does Dredging Cost?
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The term “dredging” pertains to the process involving aquatic excavation of water beds to remove sediments, pollutants, shellfish and other materials. This can be done for a number of reasons, including deepening waterways, creating harbors, channels, locks, docks and berths. Dredging is also essential in de-silting lakes and keeping river entrances and approaches to boat ramps clear. Since the job associated in dredging varies a lot, the costs that come with it vary as well.
How much does it cost?
- Dredging is a very broad term given to the activity of removing unwanted debris from the bottom of a body of water. Thus, the degree of job varies considerably. Because of that, the costs are not fixed. If the job you want to finish is just about deepening a drainage canal, you can simply use a big bucket and do it from the bank of the canal. For this kind of work, costs can be around a few hundred dollars per hour. However, if the job required is more complex than mere restoring canal depth (like deepening a shipping channel or a harbor), expect much higher costs. Major jobs like these which require heavy machinery will cost thousands of dollars per hour and can go higher, depending on the job and what is required to do it.
- If you wonder how figures are met in charging for the dredging job,you should keep in mind that there are many variables to be considered. Dredging101.com gives the basis of how dredging work is priced. According to the site, the work is priced by the cubic yard of material that is dredged. In determining the cubic yards, take the acres to be dredged and multiply 1,600 cubic yards per foot of material depth.
- For example, if you have a 10-acre lake and a 5-foot depth of material to be dredged, you will come up with: 10 x 5 x 1,600 = 80,000 cubic yards. Another method is to take the [length x width x depth of material to dredge] / 27 = cubic yards to be dredged. In addition, the site gives the cost to design and build the spoil area at $4 to $8 per cubic yard. Also, combined charges for mobilization and de-mobilization marks at $20,000 to $50,000.
- It must be known that the costs of dredging jobs vary from one contractor to another. For example, a review on the dredging & sediment costs for a particular lake in the US revealed that the total off-site disposal of dredge spoils mark at $62 – $136 per cubic yard. That is a very big amount compared to the average price in most dredging jobs near shore (disposal of lake dredging spoils) that mark at around $27- $55 per cubic yard.
- Another recent dredging job completed at Marco Island’s South Beach amounted to $630,000. The entire area was not only excavated but the beach was extended about 80 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, added 77,000 cubic yards of sand, and had repaired five erosion-prevention structures – three jetties and two T-groins. For other recent dredging projects in the country, you can visit Dredgingtoday.com and look for the exact costs associated with each project.
- For dredging done for major projects, millions of dollars are at stake. Costs for terminal dredging, for example, is revealed at GoldCoast.com to be $63 million, excluding the annual costs needed in order to allow the big liners through which amounts to $6 million a year.
What is going to be included?
- According to Dredgingspecialists.com, there are two basic types of dredging: Hydraulic dredging and Mechanical dredging. The two types use different processes in dredging. From the term itself, hydraulic dredging uses a hydraulic dredge which is consisted of a floating barge.
- A boom (ladder with a cutter head on the end) is used to lower into the mud. The ladderhead’s cutter head rotates and excavates the material to be excavated. The excavated material is sucked from inside the cutter head through a pipe to the dredge pump. The pump then pumps the slurry to a spoil area. The pipeline contains about 20% mud and 80% additional water.
- As for the materials used, hydraulic dredges come in many sizes and production capacities. They weigh from 10 tons to 50 tons and more.
- Mechanical dredging, on the other hand, is generally done with a barge mounted crane using a clam bucket or dragline bucket. The material is excavated and placed in a barge. Using a boat, the barge will be moved to the disposal area. However, a different approach in disposal is done on inland lakes and rivers as well as on coastal dredging.
What are the extra costs?
- Additional materials such as sand or soil. As mentioned, dredging jobs can vary considerably. One job is not completely identical to another. If the finished excavated job needs to be finished with sand or soil to either complete its aesthetics or to make the whole structure sturdier, then additional expenses must be considered.
Factors that influence the price:
- The nature of the job. If the nature of the dredging job proves to be a difficult one, it will surely take time to be finished. If that is the case, then the costs associated will really be very high. In addition, if the area to be dredged is really huge, then you will pay more for it.
- Time frame. If the job will be done for a day or two, then the costs will be lesser compared to those that will be completed for weeks or months.
- Location/Contractor. Dredging as well as other construction jobs vary in price from one place to another. This is because the contractor in every city or state charge differently. Although the charges are in accordance to the average price, they vary considerably. In addition, if your location is not easily accessible contractors may charge extra payment for it since transporting machinery will cost them money as well.
Tips to know:
- There are different variables that could affect the exact costs of the dredging job. As suggested by Willardsays.com, one should examine each of the variables associated in order to have a full understanding about how production costs change even with just one variable being modified even if all others remain constant. These variables include the yearly and hourly production, annual cost of ownership, fuel consumption, fuel cost, wage cost, labor cost, engine maintenance and production, cubic yards per hour, among many others.
Questions to ask the contractor:
- Do you have a standard price per cubic foot/meter for the dredging project?
- What will be the exact process to be followed in dredging?
- Where will the excavated or removed debris be dumped after the dredging is done?
- What were the major projects you have undergone before? How did you go about it? What were the specific methods you have undertaken?
How can I save money?
- Contact different contractors and let them give you estimates for the dredging job that you want to finish. Make sure that the contractor is able to survey the location and that he checks the entire job to be done. Write down the different estimates given by the contractors. This way you will be able to compare prices. Go for the one that suits your budget. However, do not automatically go for the one that is cheap. Make sure that the quality of the job would not be compromised just because of the costs. Read reviews of the contractors and always make it a habit to read the feedback of previous costumers. Great websites such as HomeAdvisor.com allow you to get more than one quote from various contractors.