Using Data for Dredging
One of the most ecologically sensitive tasks Chevron and Bechtel performed involved some of the most advanced data analytics used at the project. To dredge the plant’s 10-mile (16-kilometer) channel, Bechtel participated in a program that used sensors to continually monitor water quality between work zones and sensitive areas such as coral reefs and seagrass communities. Meanwhile, engineers used real-time models of winds, tides, currents, and other weather information to predict how sediment kicked up by the work would disperse.
Before dredging began, Bechtel and Chevron conducted extensive studies of marine habitats and developed a comprehensive dredge management and monitoring plan that was approved by both state and federal governments.
Throughout the dredging, engineers used waterlogging instruments to measure sediment in the water and satellites to transmit data in near real-time to the monitoring team. Remote-operated vehicles took high-resolution images of marine life to assess any changes. Workers continually refined the model and responded to any environmental changes. The timing and location of dredging activities were also managed very closely to reduce impacts on the surrounding environment and ecologically important events such as coral spawning.
Reef areas closest to the dredging activity showed no negative impact from the dredging, and water-quality levels continuously remained within the strict parameters required by environmental regulators.