Removal of Deposited Sediment 

Removal of Deposited Sediment 

Removal of Deposited Sediment

  • The most practical means of maintaining the storage capacity are those designed to prevent accumulation of permanent deposits as the removal operations are extremely expensive, unless the material removed is usable. Therefore, the redemption of lost storage by removal should be adopted as a last resort. The removal of sediment deposit implies in general, that the deposits are sufficiently compacted or consolidated to act as a solid and, therefore, are unable to flow along with the water. The removal of sediment deposits may be accomplished by a variety of mechanical and hydraulic or methods, such as excavation, dredging, siphoning, draining, flushing, flood sluicing, and sluicing aided by such measures as hydraulic or mechanical agitation or blasting of the sediment. The excavated sediments may be suitably disposed off so that, these do not find the way again in the reservoir.


  • The method involves draining most of or all the water in the basin and removing the sediment by hand or power operated shovel, dragline scraper or other mechanical means. The excavation of silt and clay which constitute most of the material in larger reservoirs is more difficult than the excavation of sand and gravel. Fine-textured sediment cannot be excavated easily from larger reservoirs unless it is relatively fluid or relatively compact.


  • This involves the removal of deposits from the bottom of a reservoir and their conveyance to some other point by mechanical or hydraulic means, while water storage is being maintained. Dredging practices are grouped as:

    1. Mechanical dredging by bucket, ladder, etc;

    2. Suction dredging with floating pipeline and a pump usually mounted on a barrage;

    3. Siphon dredging with a floating pipe extending over the dam or connected to an opening in the dam and usually with a pump on a barrage.

Draining and Flushing

  • The method involves relatively slow release of all stored water in a reservoir through gates or valves located near bottom of the dam and the maintenance thereafter of open outlets for a shorter or longer period during which normal stream flow cuts into or directed against the sediment deposits. Therefore, this method may be adopted in flood control reservoirs.

Sluicing with Controlled Water

  • This method differs from the flood sluicing in that the controlled water supply permits choosing the time of sluicing more advantageously and that the water may be directed more effectively against the sediment deposits. While the flood sluicing depends either on the occurrence of flood or on being able to release rapidly all of a full or nearly full supply of water in the main reservoir is empty. The advantage of this method is that generally more sediment can be removed per unit of water used than in flood scouring or draining and flushing.

  • Sluicing with Hydraulics and Mechanical Agitation Methods that stir up, break up or move deposits of a sediment into a stream current moving through a drained reservoir basin or into a full reservoir will tend to make the removal of sediment from the reservoir more complete. Wherever draining, flushing or sluicing appear to be warranted, the additional use of hydraulic means for stirring up the sediment deposits, or sloughing them off, into a stream flowing through the reservoir basin should be considered. It has, however, limited application.