TAVARES, FL – The Lake County Nutrient Reduction Facility (NuRF) located on the Apopka-Beauclair Canal south of the Lake Beauclair, just took delivery of two brand-new custom-built Mud Cat MC 50E dredges from Ellicott Dredge Technologies, LLC. The dredges were purchased through open tender to replace the original units built by another U.S. supplier in 2008.  The new dredges will systematically remove phosphorus and nitrogen from the waterway using two offline flocculation settling ponds.  The water is then returned to its original path in its new nutrient reduced form reducing algae blooms downstream. 

Lake County’s NuRF facility is the largest of its kind in the world for treatment of stormwater.  The two 9-acre settling ponds capture the inflow from the canal after alum is added to create a floc.  The floc then settles in the bottom of the ponds capturing the phosphorous and nitrogen rich materials and allowing the clean water to flow back downstream.  Lake County’s Mud Cat MC 50E units are fully automated and use Mud Cat’s proprietary automated technologies including the following:

  • Auto SenseTM: The dredge finishes its cut and then automatically returns to the start position to prepare for the next deeper cut or move laterally to the next cut, depending on the system program.
  • Lateral SenseTM: The dredge automatically moves to its next parallel cut as programmed.
  • Solids SenseTM: The density meter monitors slurry solids density and reacts to composition changes by accelerating or decelerating the traverse winch speed.
  • Bottom SenseTM: When the horizontal auger cutterhead reaches the bottom layer a sensor raises the cutter to a level which will not disturb a liner or bottom layer.

“I visited the site multiple times to meet with the engineers and was able to come up with a system that met their current production requirements and would allow room for expansion in the future,” said Michael Young, Technical Sales Manager, Ellicott Dredge Technologies, LLC.

The Mud Cat 50E units are operating infinitely in separate lagoons down to a maximum dredging depth of 18 ft. (5.5m).  The cutterhead excavates an alum floc from the bottom of the lagoons consisting of sedimentary silts, clays, decaying biologicals, and fine sand.  The total dynamic head requirement for each pump system to reach the centrifuge dewatering stage is 145 ft. (44m) at 900gpm (56.8 lps).  The slurry is pumped a maximum distance of 1,900 ft. (579.3m) with 25 ft. (7.6m) terminal elevation.  The shore panel was programmed by an electronics specialist from the factory and an additional Autec radio remote control was provided as a back-up system.

LEFT: One of two Mud Cat 50E units delivered to Lake County’s NuRF site. CENTER: The Mud Cat automation shore panel. RIGHT: The back-up Autec radio remote control to manually control each dredge system.

“I had the pleasure of visiting the NuRF site with Michael Young, EDT Technical Sales Manager.  It is a unique process, and we were happy to assist in the replacement of the dredging systems from 2008.  Our Mud Cat systems are designed to be heavier duty, easier to maintain, more productive, and more reliable with less downtime than the previously supplied systems,” said Ryan Horton, Vice President, Ellicott Dredge Technologies, LLC.

For more information on Mud Cat E-Series standard and custom radio remote controlled and automated dredges, please contact EDT Sales at [email protected] or call 913-642-5100.

For more information on Lake County Water Authoritiy’s innovative Nutrient Reduction Facility (NuRF), please visit their website.

As seen in World Dredging Magazine. (PDF)

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