Lake Dredging

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Lake Dredging Overview

What is Lake Dredging?

Lake dredging involves removing sediment and debris from the bottom of a lake.

What Problems It Solves:

Water naturally carries and deposits sediment in lakes. Over time, this can cause some areas of the lake to become too shallow for boats and ships to navigate. With lake dredging, we can remove added sediment and maintain the necessary depths for recreational and commercial traffic.

Lakes that become too shallow also put the environment at risk. They threaten the wellbeing of aquatic life within their waters as well as animals and plants in the surrounding area due to the increased risk of flooding.

Lake dredging on a routine basis protects wildlife and is considered an environmentally-friendly practice. As an added benefit, sediment that is removed during lake dredging can be used to protect coasts from erosion in a process known as beach nourishment.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Lake Dredging


Lake dredging offers many benefits, including:

  • Safer navigation
  • Cleaner lakes
  • Lower risk of flooding
  • Opportunity to repurpose sediment for beach nourishment


Disadvantages of lake dredging include:

  • Never permanently solves the problem; must be repeated on a routine basis
  • Requires secondary location for removed sediment
  • Can be expensive and time-consuming

Different Types of Lake Dredging

There are three main methods for lake dredging: mechanical, hydraulic, and cutter suction.

Mechanical Dredging

Mechanical dredging utilizes different kinds of buckets to scoop the bottom of the lake and remove sediment. Backhoe, clamshell, and dipper dredges are different types of mechanical dredges named after the types of buckets they use.

Hydraulic Dredging

Hydraulic dredging sucks both water and sediment from the bottom of the lake.

Cutter Suction Dredging

Cutter suction dredging is a form of hydraulic dredging, but it uses a cutterhead to break apart the sediment and make it easier to suck up.

Alternative Solutions to Lake Dredging

Hydro-raking is one alternative to lake dredging. This process works best for smaller bodies of water and is typically less expensive.

Service vs ServiceAdvantagesDisadvantages
Lake Dredging vs. Hydro-Raking
  • Can choose between mechanical, hydraulic, or cutter section dredging to find most effective method
  • Works in deep lakes as well as shallow ones
  • Removes high volumes of muck and debris with ease
  • May be overly expensive for smaller bodies of water experiencing minimal sediment problems

Costs of Lake Dredging

The cost you’ll pay for lake dredging depends on a few factors:

  • The scale of your project
  • Whether you’ll pay a lake dredging company or rent the equipment yourself

If you choose to work with a lake dredging company, the scale of your project will ultimately determine the final cost. Renting the equipment yourself will be less expensive regardless of the work you have to do, but keep in mind that you’ll have to do that work yourself. Also, you’ll need to find a way to use or store the removed sediment after you’re finished, which isn’t an easy task—such storage and use cases are subject to environmental regulations. By working with a lake dredging company instead of renting equipment, you can leave that task to the experts.

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