As the rainy season approaches, Integrated Pump Rental has issued a dire warning to operators of water storage and process dams to make sure that these are desilted as soon as possible and ready to accept additional rainwater.
Managing director, Lee Vine says that the progressive build-up of silt over time would have caused many of these facilities to reach close to critical volume and excessive rainwater could have major implications.
“While it is critical to ensure that water storage dams, settlement ponds and similar reservoirs are kept at their required storage volumes at all times, it is just as important to regularly clean and desilt these to avoid any environmental occurrences should these facilities become overfull due to heavy rainfall,” Vine says.
Vine says that increased demand has already been seen for the company’s innovative and effective SlurrySucker desilting solution with many operators becoming more proactive than in previous years. He says this applies across a range of industry sectors where water is stored either for recycling or as part of the process such as settlement ponds.
He is quick, however, to point out that while desilting or cleaning of settlement ponds may seem like a simple task, it is not always as straightforward as it would initially appear. Cleaning these facilities can become an onerous task, as it involves the pumping of high solids materials from the facility being desilted and should an incorrect system or equipment that is not fit for the task be specified this can cause issues including environmental harm.
“Historically many operations have used manual excavation methods for desilting and cleaning, but our established track record with proven references has proved that this is not only inefficient, but it often fails to remove the required volume of sediment,” he says.
There are several ways to accomplish effective desilting, but it has to be done effectively and cost efficiently, and this is where Integrated Pump Rental’s skilled and experience team come into play. The best option, according to Vine, is a site visit to assess the application requirements and conditions.
“In some instances, it is possible to pump the high solids material to another nearby dam or reservoir. However, this is sometimes not possible and in this type of scenario we implement an alternate solution such as capturing and storing the content in specialised geotextile bags while the water is separated from the solid material,” he explains.
Once the actual condition of the dam or pond has been assessed the decision can be made as how to proceed. The SlurrySucker itself needs sufficient volume of water on which it can be floated, and should there be areas where this is not possible, then a hydro-mining solution is applied to these drier areas.
The SlurrySucker is equipped with a high performance pump capable of moving high solids volumes so it can dredge quickly and cost effectively over the full area. Where necessary monitoring guns are used to blast the drier slurry towards the discharge point.
In addition, specialised pumps with chopper blades can also be deployed in instances where required. An example would be where dislodged reeds or other plant materials are present in the dam.
Locally engineered and manufactured by Integrated Pump Rental, the SlurrySucker is designed to deal with a range of high solids material including coal slurry, general silt and sand.
In conclusion, Vine says that the opting for the SlurrySucker option is also far safer as the barge itself can be operated remotely from a defined distance away from the dam or pond edge. This is much safer than having equipment and personnel on the dam.