The Brownsville Public Utilities Board's Resaca Restoration Project is officially
under way after a project launch ceremony March 22 at Brownsville's historic Old City Cemetery. This project is necessary because sediment, trash and other
debris has built up over the years, impeding water flow in these waterways. The only way to return the resacas to their original depth is to dredge them.
The Resaca Restoration Project will be completed in segments with the Cemetery Resaca being the first site to be dredged in this long-term project. After
dredging the Cemetery Resaca, BPUB will move on to other Phase I sites, which include the Gladys Porter Zoo resacas and canals, Dean Porter Park Resaca,
and the Resaca Boulevard Resaca.
The dredger itself is a specialized boat with cutters attached to the bottom to help break up the debris or cut vegetation. The dredger then sucks up the
material much like a vacuum, sending it through pipes until it winds up at the dewatering system.
The dewatering system separates large trash and debris as well as sand from the water. Specially designed sediment removal equipment is being used to separate
the dredged sediment particles from the slurry in order to produce dry sediment material and a clear, clean effluent that can be discharged back into
the resacas. This is being accomplished with a very limited land footprint with minimum environmental and noise disturbance.
The project manager estimates it will likely take two or three months to finish dredging the Cemetery Resaca, but that estimation depends on what crews find
during the cleanup effort. Discoveries of large trash or debris can delay progress because those items cannot fit through the pipe system leading to the
dewatering system. In those cases, operations will have to temporarily stop while the crew removes the obstruction. Tires, furniture and
carpet are already among the larger items that have been found.