Tuesday, September 6, 2011

St. Louis District welcomes home the Dredge Potter

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dredge Potter.
The Dredge Potter, the eldest member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging fleet, was welcomed home to the St. Louis District Service Base last month, following her most recent makeover. 

Dredge Potter receives
new house.
She now sports a new resilient and durable pump, allowing her to suck up sediment from the bottom of the river more efficiently; a new  deckhouse, increasing the size of her pilothouse and living quarters for her crew; and new electric controls that are more reliable and easier to maintain. The renovations were completed in Houma, La. through Gulf Island Fabrication, Incorporated, and the hard work of the Potter crew. 

Built in 1932, during the Great Depression, the Potter was named in honor of Brig. Gen. Charles Lewis Potter—Memphis District Engineer from 1900 to 1903 and then President of the Mississippi River Commission from 1920 to 1928.

The Potter as a steam-powered
The 240-foot long, 46-foot wide Dredge Potter was originally a steam-powered paddlewheel before her transformation to diesel-electric power in 2001. Her first job assignment was with the Corps’ Memphis District before her transfer to the St. Louis District in 1979. 

Approaching her 80th birthday, the Potter remains true to the St. Louis District’s mission of maintaining a nine-foot deep, 300-foot wide channel on 300 miles of the Mississippi River from Saverton, Mo., to Cairo, Ill., making navigation possible for towboats to move commerce up and down the river.

“The Potter is a piece of living history who continues to shape the river,” Col. Chris Hall, St. Louis District Commander said.“With the Potter and the hard work of her crew, St. Louis is the third largest inland port by tonnage, and commercial navigation thrives on the District’s stretch of the river.”

Last year, the Potter and her crew were awarded the St. Louis Metro Federal Executive Board Team Award for a forty-five percent increase in productivity of the previous three years with a thirty-one percent reduction in costs. A reduction that resulted in 2.7 million in savings.

The Dredge Potter dredging
the Mississippi River.
With her new makeover and new attitude, the Potter returned to service September 2, carrying out her historic mission to keep the Mississippi River open to navigation.

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