SAVANNAH, Ga. – Attendees of the Hydraulic Institute Fall Conference visited the lower Savannah River dissolved oxygen plant operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, Oct. 24, 2022.
Kate Dixon, design branch chief for the Savannah District, and Bruce Bennett, dissolved oxygen facilities manager, led the technical information tour of the plant. During that visit, the attendees learned about how the two plants were part of mitigation for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, which added dissolved oxygen to the river to help ensure marine life didn’t suffocate.
Injecting super-oxygenated water into the Savannah River helps mitigate for the loss of oxygen as the harbor was deepened from 42 feet to 47 feet. The extra oxygen added to the river will benefit fish, particularly the endangered shortnose sturgeon and the Atlantic sturgeon as they pass through the area to upstream areas and back to the Atlantic Ocean.
“We went through all of the components of the plant – the oxygen generators, the Speece cones, the intake pumps, the low- and high-pressure wash pumps, the controls system, and the electrical system,” said Dixon. “We discussed the amount of oxygen generated between the upriver and downriver plants, the water flows, and the need to provide dissolved oxygen to both the front and back river.”
The Corps of Engineers uses Speece cones, giant steel cones which use river water, mixing at high pressure to dissolve pure oxygen into the water. The machinery then returns the super-oxygenated water to the river where tides and currents distribute it naturally. Pure oxygen is extracted from the air at the Hutchinson Island location. As an automated plant, it requires little human involvement.
Further detailed topics during the tour included how the plant operated seasonally, what measures were taken in dealing with river water and muddy conditions at intakes, and closer looks at the piping, pie routing, pumps, and controls system.
Dixon said it’s standard practice for technical organizations to offer tours of facilities that are unique or technically interesting to an institute’s membership, as a way of sharing knowledge and networking. The tour happened in conjunction with the Hydraulic Institute Fall Conference that took place in Savannah Oct. 24 to Oct. 27.
“This conference provides attendees the chance to network with pump industry counterparts, participate in standards of development, attend pump knowledge workshops and learn about how the Hydraulic Institute, with the help of our members and partners, plans to focus on the initiatives that will move the industry forward,” said Denielle Giordano, the Hydraulic Institute director of marketing and events.
Founded in 1917, the Hydraulic Institute is the largest association of pump manufacturers in North America, developing standards and technical resources for pump systems. They are responsible for publishing national standards covering pump and system nomenclature, definitions, design, application, installation, operation, maintenance, and testing.
Members come from companies that manufacture pumps or supplies and software used with pumps and pumping systems for sale in North America. Standards Partners are companies and individuals who are engineering consultants, pump end-users, academics, and industry retirees, which includes the Army Corps of Engineers.