Schuylkill River

Discovery of thousands of tires in Schuylkill River could derail dredging project

The scope of a dredging project intended to refurbish the Schuylkill River National Race Course could be cut by half after thousands of illegally dumped tires were found in the river

NBC Universal, Inc.

After years of work, a multimillion dollar dredging project intended to revitalize the Schuylkill River National Race Course on the river, could end up being curtailed due to new costs associated with the removal of thousands of illegally dumped tires that were found in the river.

Bonnie Mueller, Commodore of The Schuylkill Navy said that she was concerned that, due to additional costs that removal of more than 3,000 tires might cause the project to incur, the scope of the project might be cut by as much as half.

"If we do not continue to pursue the full execution of this project," she said rowers could be in danger of losing the 2,000-meter Schuylkill River National Race Course that runs along Kelly Drive.

The $4.5 million dredging project was undertaken several years ago, and was intended to remove build ups of silt that racers had complained was compromising regattas by making some lanes shallower than others.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the tires were pulled from several areas along the project area.

And, though Mueller noted that regattas are still held regularly on the river -- she said since equipment can be moved the dredging hasn't impacted their ability to host events on the river -- organizers hope to complete the dredging project as planned in order to return the Schuylkill River National Race Course to its former glory.

Also, Mueller noted that cleaning these tires out of the river is a good thing for the environment and for the city's drinking water.

But, with the delay and costs that have been caused by the discovery and removal of these tires, organizers now need to reevaluate the planned scope of the dredging operations.

"We could end up with a project that is -- quote, unquote -- finished, but it isn't done," she said.

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