Service: Sediment Investigation & Dredging

ILM Environments Dredging and Sediment Investigation

What is Sediment Accumulation and Why is a Sediment Investigation Necessary?

All lakes and ponds naturally accumulate sediment over time. Factors such as shoreline erosion, runoff, and the buildup of organic material like submerged aquatic plants and tree leaves can accelerate sediment accumulation. Eventually, lakes and ponds in Illinois and Wisconsin require dredging to maintain their intended use, whether it’s for recreation or stormwater storage.

What Does a Sediment Investigation in Illinois/Wisconsin Involve?

A sediment investigation measures the amount of sediment buildup in a lake or pond. It includes a bathymetric survey, which is an underwater topographical survey of the water body’s bottom. Depth measurements and sediment samples are collected to determine the sediment thickness and volume. This data is used to create bathymetric maps and calculate how much sediment removal is necessary.


When a sediment investigation reveals a significant sediment accumulation, dredging is typically recommended. Dredging involves the removal of nutrient-rich sediment layers to restore the lake or pond to its original depth and reduce excessive algal and aquatic plant growth. Hydraulic or mechanical methods can be used depending on the site’s accessibility and the type of sediment.

Hydraulic Dredging

Hydraulic dredging is ideal for removing loose muck. It uses suction to extract a mixture of sediment and water, which is then transferred to a dewatering bag. Polymers may be added to coagulate the suspended particles and aid in the dewatering process. Hydraulic dredging is cost-effective when there is a use for the dredged material on-site. The Truxor mini-hydraulic dredge is suitable for ponds, small lakes, and maintenance dredging.

Mechanical Dredging

Mechanical dredging involves mechanically excavating sediment using an excavator with a bucket. It can be done either in the dry or “in the wet.” Dry mechanical dredging requires draining the waterbody and removing the sediment. Wet mechanical dredging is performed without drawing down the water level, but it can cause sediment resuspension. Both methods require proper permitting.


Regardless of the dredging method, regulatory permits are typically necessary. ILM provides comprehensive permitting services as part of our dredging operations. It is important to begin the permitting process at least 3-6 months before the project’s expected start date.

Contact Us Today for a Sediment Investigation in Illinois or Wisconsin

If you’re interested in learning more about our sediment removal, investigation, and dredging services in Illinois or Wisconsin, or if you’re seeking holistic strategies to maintain your environment’s health, contact us today! We proudly serve the Chicago area, Northern Illinois, and Southern Wisconsin, and we are dedicated to improving the beauty and health of your lakes, ponds, wetlands, woodlands, and prairies.

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