Corps of Engineers test confirms strength of dissolved oxygen injection system in Savannah harbor

USACE, Savannah District
Published May 4, 2021

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The results of tests of the dissolved oxygen (DO) injection system for the Savannah harbor concludes the multi-million-dollar apparatus successfully mitigates for the reduction in DO in the Savannah River due to the current deepening project.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Savannah District office stated the two-location system can place the required average of 40,000 pounds a day of pure oxygen into the river, according to a recently published report. The pure oxygen dissolves completely in raw river water, and then gets discharged back into the bottom of the river. Diffusers deep under the surface ensure the super-oxygenated water mixes well horizontally and vertically, with virtually no oxygen lost from the water surface into the atmosphere.

The public can read the report online at

The system will operate seasonally during the critical summer months when the natural dissolved oxygen levels reach their lowest concentration. The Corps of Engineers conducted two major required tests; A “Test Run” and a “Start Up Run” (SUR). The Test Run was completed in 2019 on the down river system March 14 through May 12, 2019. The SUR data collection and plant operation occurred July 25 through Sept. 22, 2020. The SUR combines the power of both plants through three injection locations.

The analysis of the data collected also showed the oxygenated water spreads throughout the Savannah River and estuary system, and successfully mitigates for low DO in the bottom half of the water column.

The DO injection systems will operate during the hot summer months of June through September when dissolved oxygen in the river naturally weakens. The added DO will mitigate for impacts on the DO levels from the deepening project.

The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, known as SHEP, will deepen the harbor from 42 feet deep to 47 feet deep at average low water levels. This will allow expanded use of the harbor by modern, larger container vessels and allow those ships to enter and exit the harbor for a longer time during each tidal cycle. This expansion will lower transportation costs to the nation while increasing shipping capacity. The SHEP is scheduled for completion in 2022.


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Billy Birdwell, Senior Public Affairs Specialist
912-652-6039 (cell)

Release no. 21-011