Corps awards contract for work on new electric barrier

Published Aug. 1, 2013

CHICAGO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Chicago District awarded a contract in the amount of $2.8 million July 31, 2013, to E.P. Doyle & Son LLC for construction of water structures as part of a new electric barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) in Romeoville, Ill. E.P. Doyle & Son LLC is certified as a small business concern.

The firm-fixed-price construction contract is for the fabrication and in-water installation of electrodes and other in-water structures for a new barrier, as authorized by Congress, as an upgrade to the demonstration barrier that has been online since 2002. Installation is slated for spring 2014.

Additional contracts will follow to complete the barrier control building and activate the barrier.

There are two other electric barriers in the CSSC. The barriers are operated to deter the inter-basin establishment of Asian carp and other fish through an electric field in the water via the CSSC. The barriers are one control technology in a broad interagency effort to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp establishment.

The barriers are complex electrical and mechanical systems and must periodically be powered down for maintenance. Therefore, more than one barrier is needed so at least one can be active at any time.

“Each barrier built takes lessons learned from the previous ones to ensure the most effective prevention tool possible,” said Chicago District Commander Col. Frederic A. Drummond Jr. “We continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to assess the Asian carp threat and make informed decisions regarding barrier operations.”

Laboratory and tagged-fish results show that the electric barriers are an effective fish deterrent. As of spring 2013, individually-coded transmitters have been surgically implanted into approximately 238 fish of all sizes in the Chicago Area Waterway System. There have been nearly 6 million detections of these fish, and no tagged fish have crossed the barriers in the upstream direction. No Asian carp have been captured or observed above the barriers in the last two years.

Currently, the adult population front of Asian carp is about 55 miles from Lake Michigan and has not moved for several years. The electric barriers are approximately 37 miles from Lake Michigan.


Sarah Gross

Release no. 080113-001