The “Mud Cat” is a machine which removes sediment from the bottom of lakes and rivers without stirring up the water and destroying plant life. One is owned by Folsom Marine Service Corp. of Plymouth, and this weekend it will begin 40 hours of ecological dredging on the Merrimack River beside Public Service Co.’s plant here.
The power plant used water from the river to cool its massive generators. Each year weeds, growth and sand build up in front of the water intake system, and must be removed. Two skin divers working six months a year dredged the 60 foot by 250 foot area for the company until this year.
The “Mud Cat” manufactured by Mud Cat International will do it in 40 hours. The secret to the “Mud Cat” is its spiral auger winch scrapes the bottom and sucks in sediment without first putting it in suspension in the water-the technique used by older hydraulic dredgers.
The process, according to owner Richard Folsom, is cleaner than hydraulic dredging and ecologically more sound. It is, he said, also more efficient: The “Mud Cat” picks up 95 percent of the sediment it moves, where the hydraulic dredger collects 40 per cent at most.
Reprinted from Concord Monitor