Off-River Dredging – Who and Where


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Recognizing the ongoing need for high quality sand to support the building industry and road construction, Friends of the Kaw advocates the use of sand from appropriately sited off-river pit mines and the elimination of in-river sand dredges.

There are many off-river sand and gravel mining operations in the Kansas River valley which serve as an alternative to in-river dredging operations and demonstrate that there is good quality sand available from pit mines. As the Simons and Li report (1986) stated, there are “adequate, and equivalent sources of the same grade and quality of sand available off the river.”

The Economics of Dredging vs. Pit Mining

Holliday Sand and Gravel and Kaw Valley Companies were contacted by Friends of the Kaw in August 2010 to determine the economics of sand production from the Kansas River. Both companies obtain sand from Kaw in-river dredges and pit mines; neither indicated that costs differ between sand obtained from Kaw in-river dredging and pit mining. Regardless of where the sand is obtained from, the average price of sand from Holliday Sand and Gravel is $12.65, and the average price of sand from Kaw Valley Companies is $12.00 for wet sand and $36.00 for dry sand. Both companies stated that one can buy sand that is exclusively from Kaw in-river dredges or exclusively from pit mines without any difference in cost.Transportation cost of sand in price per ton per mile was also investigated. Mike O’Dell of Holliday Sand and Gravel estimated that it costs $0.15 per ton per mile to transport sand, either obtained from pit mines or Kaw in-river dredges. Kaw Valley Companies did not have any data on their transportation costs. Therefore, neither indicated cost differences between sand obtained from Kaw in-river dredges and pit mines.