Clean Lake Quick and Easy with Mini-Dredge

It got so at the Valley Hi Lake in Colorado Springs, Colo., that anyone could walk on water and would get no more than a ho­hum. The “lake” was little more than six inches deep in most places. Silting had reduced it to a large puddle-a made-to order job for a mini-dredge.

Alarmed both by the threatened demise of the lake, which is essential to the city’s flood control system, and because water was eroding the shore next to an apartment complex, Colorado Springs contemplated various ways to clean it out. However, engineers pointed out that it would be difficult to clean the lake with land-based equipment as the land surrounding it was water-logged. A conventional marine dredge would be impractical due to the size of the project-the lake is only a couple hundred acres in area-and due to high transportation and setup costs.

A tailor-made answer for Colorado Springs was the Mud Cat mini-dredge from Mud Cat: successful bidder Doug Jardine ordered one sight unseen. The machine is a low-draft barge, 8-ft long, weighing approximately 16,000 lb. An 175-hp diesel powers the barge and the auger, which can be lowered and raised hydraulically.

In operation, an auger picks up material, forcing it into an intake tub where a suction pump pushes it up and out through a discharge pipe. A mudshield that covers the auger practically eliminates turbidity and protects fish and other wildlife.

Another plus for the machine: it takes only two men to run it, one in the cab, the other on shore to move pipes and cables (the machine runs on cable guideways).

Jardine worked two 8-hr shifts, using spotlights at night. Each shift churned out over 600 cu. yd.

Reprinted from Construction Equipment

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