Prior to the port of Savannah expansion, the location needed to add large oxygen-injection stations on the river to help fish breathe better as the waterway is expected to lose oxygen toward the bottom as it's deepened by five feet to make room for larger cargo ships, Wabe reports.
If the machines fail to boost oxygen levels, the expansion project could be halted with the dredging done only halfway. The oxygen injectors must work before dredging continues.
Wabe reports that Army Corps scientists have already started running tests on the water to determine how much of the extra oxygen stays in the river compared to how much breaks the surface. The tests will continue until mid-May.
"The requirement is to put 12,000 pounds of oxygen into the water column," says Beth Williams, hydrology branch chief for the Army Corps' Savannah District in a statement. "We feel pretty good that we'll get there."
Rivers naturally take in oxygen from the air, but as the water gets deeper, it's harder to push oxygen to the bottom. The Army Corps intens to run the oxygen injectors indefinitely, from June through early September, costing roughly $3 million per year.