Mariners plying the waters off Brookings this month and next are reminded to be cautious and avoid a mile of black, floating pipeline that is helping dredge silt from the Port of Brookings Harbor and pumping it to a location about a mile out at sea.
On Friday, work crews were preparing the pipe, which will extend in a southwesterly direction from a point on the beach adjacent to the south jetty about 2,000 feet. Over the next two days, the pipe will be extended at least an additional 4,000 feet.
All of the 12-inch-diameter pipe will be marked every 100 feet with flashing amber lights to warn vessels as they pass through the area. A hydraulic dredge and additional floating pipeline will also be operating in the north and south basins of the port.
The pipeline is expected to be in place for the next 28 days, although that could be extended by 17 days to account for unanticipated delays, said port manager Ted Fitzgerald.
The dredging method, which will pump about 28,000 cubic yards of silt from the boat basin, is commonly used in some port cities, but the debris is usually deposited on dry land. Other ports are too far from EPA-approved disposal sites to lay the pipes, and must use barges to haul debris away.
So this is a first for Oregon.
The pumps are calibrated to move a water-silt mixture 12 feet per second.
This is the last of the repairs required after the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami destroyed significant portions of the harbor March 11, 2011.
This work is funded by a $673,000 Oregon State Marine Board grant from FEMA; the port secured an additional $94,500 in marine board grant monies to dredge the end of the harbor where passing boats can moor as they go port-hopping. Fitzgerald said that doing the work all at one time will save money, as well.
For more information, contact the Port of Brookings Harbor at 541-469-2218.