Three Ways Weeks Marine is Protecting Our Oceans
June 8 is World Oceans Day, a day that unites and rallies the world to protect and restore our planet’s oceans. At Weeks Marine, we recognize the importance of sustainability as a business decision and as an obligation. With all our work taking place on the water, environmental stewardship is of the utmost importance. In honor of World Oceans Day, we are sharing three ways Weeks is taking action to protect our oceans.
Rebuilding and Restoring Wetlands
Oceans comprise 70 percent of Earth’s surface, and as water flows into them from the mainland, it is filtered and cleaned in wetlands – areas of land that are covered by water most or part of the year. Wetlands filter out pollutants, toxicants, pathogens, and excess nutrients before water enters the oceans. Without wetlands, the burden of removing excess carbon falls solely on our oceans which can cause changes in water temperature, pH, and oxygen levels – all affecting sea life.
Our Dredging Division works to create and restore wetlands and our projects play an important role in maintaining and improving the flow of water through wetlands including estuaries, rivers, bogs, marshes, and mangrove forests, among others.
The creation of marshes, such as our project in the Upper Barataria in Louisiana, restores a critical infrastructure for marine life, filtering pollutants and sediments and fortifies our coasts.
The Upper Barataria was among the hardest hit by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the work we are completing will heal the basin, restore fish nurseries, return sediment, and improve water quality. Learn more about the project and see our crew in action.
In addition to the work we perform rebuilding and restoring wetlands, our dredging work also helps improve rivers and waterways by removing contaminated materials and sediments as part of maintenance dredging or specific environmental dredging projects. These practices ensure that contaminated material is removed from our environment and is disposed of properly.
Building Wastewater Management Solutions
McNally Tunneling Corporation, (a subsidiary of Weeks) is supporting a 25-year project called Project Clean Lake. This project will reduce the amount of combined sewer outflow (CSO) discharging into Lake Erie in the Cleveland, OH area.
CSO occurs when heavy rainfall overfills the sewer system, and wastewater is discharged along with rainwater into nearby waterbodies. By increasing the number of tunnels, a greater volume of rainwater can be held and slowly dispersed following a rain event.
When the project is completed, four billion gallons of pollution will be diverted annually. This will improve the water quality in Lake Erie, which ultimately flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
Our Equipment and Fleet
Weeks’ work to protect our oceans does not stop with our projects; it is embedded in decisions on new technology.
Weeks recently invested in electric dredging boosters, continuing the advancement of our sustainability initiatives and environmental stewardship. These electric boosters were first used in the Upper Barataria Marsh Creation project, decreasing the amount of fuel required day-to-day and reducing our overall emissions.
In addition to our electric boosters, our fleet of equipment includes three fully-electric equilibrium cranes (E-cranes), seven hydraulic dredges and tugboats with tier II or better engines.
“Modernized equipment reduces the amount of pollution, helping keep our waterways clean,” Wellins added. “Weeks continues to invest in new equipment that is built with sustainability in mind, and consistently makes upgrades to our existing fleet to reduce our carbon footprint and work cleaner and more efficiently.”
Our newest, state-of-the-art trailing suction hopper dredge, the R.B. Weeks, and its sister vessel, the Magdalen, both have tier IV engines, the strictest EPA standards. Tier IV engines reduce nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, commonly called black soot, emissions.
Walking the Talk
Outside our day-to-day operations, Weeks employees remain committed to improving and protecting our oceans through volunteer work and community engagement activities.
As part of our sustainability initiatives, Weeks employees participated in beach clean-ups at Sandy Hook Beach in Highland, NJ and Employees engaged with the community and prevented more trash from entering the oceans.
Our New Jersey offices are participating in Weeks Marine’s Second Annual beach clean-up on June 27 in partnership with The American Littoral Society. Beach Cleanups like these are essential to preventing debris from entering the oceans and leading by example to inspire others to help protect our oceans.
Whether you live on the coast or are landlocked, the oceans are important for life. What ways can you take action?