FREE DIRT: Spillway silt available for the taking

Michelle Stuckey
September 16, 2011 at 9:36 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Water was not the only thing rushing into the Bonnet Carre Spillway during the full opening this summer. The spillway has loads of sand and silt that it's trying to get rid of.

Chris Brantley, project manager at the spillway, said that anyone is welcome to take buckets of sand away for free.

“If someone has a pickup truck or bucket and a shovel and wants to put some in a bag that's fine,” Brantley said.

“We're going to try to set up piles that will be available to the public, but right now they can check by the office to see where it is most safe to go.”

Brantley said that the spillway is open year-round to those who want to grab a small amount of sand for personal uses, such as gardening. But there is an abundance of new sand that was deposited there in May by the Mississippi River. The spillway was opened in May for the first time since 2008.

In fact, there is so much sand that the spillway is contracting out larger portions of the sand to contractors.

“Larger areas will be bid out parcel-by-parcel and contractors will be awarded contracts,” Brantley said. He said that about 180 acres total of sand will be bid out in 40-50 acre parcels.

The spillway opened for the 10th time in its 83-year history on May 9 to divert rising water in the Mississippi River away from downstream communities, including New Orleans. The spillway diverted as much as 316,000 cubic feet of water per second over the 43-day opening, which ended on June 20.

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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