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Local interests desire participation by the Federal Government in a plan of improvement for the Schuylkill River which will provide for clearing the river channel and its banks of deposits of coal dust or culm, the prevention of further deposits, and for flood protection.
Erosion of culm banks, the deposit into the streams of debris from the mining and washing of coal and the discharge of raw sewage and industrial wastes have caused a serious pollution problem in the basin.
Two major steps must be taken to clean the river: first, mine waste must be prevented from entering the headwaters; second, 30,000,000 cubic yards of culm must be removed from the river bed. Elimination of the pollution at the source would be accompanied by use of impounding basins for settling out the culm from the breaker wash waters, by utilization of abandoned mine workings and stripping excavations for disposal of breaker wastes, and the construction of disposal-andrecovery plants for the wastes. The problems must be solved jointly by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the coal operators, and the municipalities.
Federal participation would consist of dredging the three lower pools, Plymouth, Flat Rock, and Fairmount pools.
The estimated total cost of the works proposed is $35,583,000, of which $12,895,000 is Federal cost and $22,688,000 is the cost to local interests.
Annual evaluated general benefits are savings in elimination of that part of the shoaling in the navigation channels in the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, due to culm, amounting to $289,000; and flood control, $192,000. A total of $481,000 of benefits to the Government.
Annual evaluated benefits to local interests will total $125,000 from reduction in costs in purification of water for domestic and commercial
The benefits that would be secured through recreational use of the river, if restored to an attractive and usable condition for the benefit of millions of citizens annually have not been monetarily computed except for an annual saving of $20,000 to the city of Philadelphia that would accrue through eliminating the necessity of dredging to maintain a rowing course in Fairmount pool. However, the recreational benefits in prospect are certainly considerable and weight heavily in favor of the river's restoration.
The Board therefore recommends improvement of the Schuylkill River above Fairmount Dam in the interest of navigation and other purposes by removal of culm deposits in Plymouth, Flat Rock, and Fairmount pools, at an estimated cost of $12,895,000; provided, that local interests' have stopped the discharge of mine and industrial wastes into the streams of the Schuylkill watershed; constructed works to intercept accumulated wastes which enter the headwaters by erosion, or are now present therein from going downstream; removed 50 percent of the culm deposits in the river between Auburn and Norristown Dam; and given assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of War that they will remove the remaining 50 percent of the culm deposits in the river between Auburn and Norristown Dam, furnish without cost to the United States all lands, easements, and right-of-way necessary for the construction of the project, hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works, and maintain and operate all works after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secreary of War.
The project has been approved by the Governors of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, and also by the Bureau of the Budget. The CHAIRMAN. We will take a recess until 1:30.
(Whereupon, at 12:20 p. m., a recess was taken until 1:30 p. m. of the same day.)
(The hearing on the Cleveland Harbor, Ohio, project held this morning is printed separately).
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
SAVANNAH HARBOR, GA.
STATEMENT OF COL. P. A. FERINGA
Colonel FERINGA. The next project is the Savannah Harbor, and I was district engineer of Savannah, for, I think, two of the most pleasant years I have ever had in my life, and I am completely familiar with the great possibilities of that part of the country and the thriving port of Savannah.
Savannah is very advantageously located, because it is practically on the ocean, and has deep water at its doors.
The report on Savannah Harbor, Judge, and members of the committee, is in response to a resolution adopted October 19, 1945, by the Rivers and Harbors Committee.
Savannah Harbor is on the Atlantic coast 75 miles south of Charleston Harbor and 120 miles north of the mouth of St. Johns River. It comprises the lower 22.2 miles of Savannah River which forms the boundary between South Carolina and Georgia, and 7.4 miles of channel across the ocean bar.
The improvements authorized and which were completed in 1937 include a channel 30 feet deep and generally 500 feet wide from that depth in the ocean to the quarantine station, 10.2 miles; thence 30 feet deep and generally 400 feet wide to the Seaboard Air Line Railway bridge, 16 miles; thence 26 feet deep and 300 feet wide to the foot of Kings Island, 1.3 miles; thence 26 feet deep and 200 feet wide to the upper end of the Atlantic Creosotin Co. wharf 2.1 miles; a total length of 29.6 miles; widening at turns in the channel; a turning basin near the uppen end of the harbor; and for maintenance and extension of certain training walls, jetties, revetments, auxiliary channels, and so forth. The mean range of tide is 7.0 feet at the mouth of the river, 7.8 feet in the center of the city of Savannah and 7.0 feet at the Atlantic Coastal Highway bridge 2.1 miles above the upper end of the harbor.
Modifications of the existing project authorized by the River and Harbor Act of March 2, 1945, and an act of November 7, 1945, provide for deepening the channel across the ocean bar to 36 feet; thence deepening to 34 feet, the channel upstream to the vicinity of the Mexican Petroleum Corp. refinery with widening to 550 feet at the same depth for a distance of 5,000 feet along the Atlantic Coast Line Railway terminals, and with a turning basin 34 feet deep at the Mexican Petroleum Corp. refinery; thence deepening to 30 feet the remainder of the upstream channel and the turning basin at its upper end with no change in widths, all at an estimated additional cost of $3,019,000. No work has been done on these modifications.
Commerce of Savannah Harbor averaged 2,851,500 tons during the 10-year period 1935 to 1944 which includes the effects of interruptions to shipping under wartime conditions. During this period, 16.6 percent of the commerce consisting of raw and refined sugar, crude petroleum and petroleum products, asphalt, creosote oil, creosoted wood products, wood pulp and paper products, crude gypsum and chemicals moved in deep-draft vessels over the upper portion of the harbor above the Seaboard Air Line Railway bridge.
Savannah is a commercial and industrial city with a population in 1940 of 135,000. It is one of the world's leading markets for naval stores and the location of the largest sugar refinery in the southeast and the largest combined paper and pulp mill in the world. There are more than 170 plants in the vicinity manufacturing diversified products including asphalt, gasoline, roofing material, fertilizers, refined sugar, paper and wood pulp, gypsum products and lumber. A large part of the raw materials and finished products normally moves by water,
Local interests consider the improvements now authorized as being adequate for their needs within the present limits but they desire extension of the presently authorized 30-foot ship channel from its upper limit to the vicinity of the Atlantic Coastal Highway bridge with a cut-off of a sharp bend in the river above the Atlantic Creosoting Co. wharf, and provision of a turning basin near the upper end of the extension, to make available for development a considerable frontage of well-situated industrial sites.
Industries manufacturing a diversity of products have made investigations and inquiries, both before and since the war, evidencing a considerable desire to locate on deep water at Savannah, thus indicating that the sites available on the requested improvement would soon be occupied with great benefits to the industries and to the community. A definite agreement has been negotiated by a large manufacturer of pulp and paper products to locate a mill at a site immediately below The Atlantic Coastal Highway bridge which is already provided with rail and highway connections and other facilities, subject to the condition that an adequate navigation channel is provided from Savannah Harbor to the site.
The Board recommends that the existing Federal project for Savannah Harbor, Ga., be modified to provide for a channel 30 feet deep and generally 200 feet wide, upstream from the upper end of the present authorized channel in the vicinity of the Atlantic Creosoting Co. wharf a distance of 1.45 miles, with a cut-off, and widening to 600 feet at the upper end to form a turning basin, and the construction of dikes, and necessary bank revetments, subject to certain conditions of local cooperation.
The Chief of Engineers concurs in the views and recommendations of the Board. Cost to United States for new work (in addition to $3,019,000 authorized
by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1945, and the act of November 7, 1945).
$809,000 Cost to local interests_
864, 880 37,000
31, 740 4, 660
Total annual carrying charges--
73, 400 The improvement is recommended subject to the conditions that local interests provide free of cost to the United States, all lands, including removal of existing structures, necessary for initial construction and subsequent maintenance of the project when and as required, and agree to hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works.
The annual tangible benefits from transportation savings on products of the proposed paper mill are estimated at $169,485 on the basis of capacity production. This estimate is reduced to $100,000 to allow for a period of development and the probability that capacity production will not be maintained. Other benefits both tangible and intangible would result from the improvement, such as increased land values, increased employment and business stimulation and general community benefits. The ratio of evaluated annual benefits alone, to annual costs of the improvement is 1.36 to 1, and large additional benefits would accrue.
The Governor of Georgia is heartily in favor of the project. We have not had an opportunity to send a report on it to the Bureau of the Budget.
The CHAIRMAN. What is involved in the bill that we put through last year on Savannah ?
Colonel FERINGA. The bill that went through last year called for deepening. This port, in common with many of the ports, would suffer if the deep-draft tankers could not have full and free access to the wharves. That deepening is now authorized, and I think greatly through Mr. Peterson's efforts, there is an item in the pending appropriation bill which will permit, certainly, partial construction of that work. Savannah Harbor is crowded. All of the wharves and all of the docks have been taken up, and meanwhile the city is growing and the amount of water-borne commerce that is coming in and going out is increasing by leaps and bounds.
The CHAIRMAN. All due to this representation that they have in Congress here?
Colonel FERINGA. I have no doubt, sir, and, therefore, it is important that they get additional industrial sites on water, because that is what is making the port develop further. These additional companies are anxious and ready to come in, and, I think in one case, Mr. Peterson, have already signed a letter to that effect. During the
war, this area here was occupied by a concern that built concrete barges, and they constantly, at the expense I think of the Maritime Commission, or possibly their own expense, had to engage
in dredging, so that when the ships were launched they would not stick into the more or less soft material.
On this project, local interests are going to make the land available and will, in effect, extend the capabilities and capacity of a very flourishing port.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, the bill we put through last year, a special bill, was vetoed by the President on the recommendation of the Budget.
Colonel FERINGA. That is right, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And the distinguished Congressman from that district convinced the President and the Bureau of the Budget that they were in error, and the bill was put through and signed the next day after it was received.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. That is very nice of you, Mr. Chairman, but I must say that the chairman of this great committee was the guiding genius in converting those able officials to the worthiness of this
The CHAIRMAN. I just advised you how to do the work and you carried it out.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. I would like to supplement the fine statement made by Colonel Feringa with the information that within the last 10 days, during recent months, a number of industries are wanting to come into Savannah. As you stated, there is no location on the water front for them at present, but in the last 10 days at least one industry that will have an expenditure of over $8,000,000 in its plant, has signed all of the agreements for a location there, subject to this extension of the water facility.
I would like also for the record to show that the State Port Authority, which is run in conjunction with the city of Savannah and the State of Georgia, has now provisions under way for the construction of $8,000,000 publicly owned port facility, and the funds are all in there or will be at the time that they are needed and the plans have been perfected and the work is progressing very rapidly. And in addition, the city is making a full million dollar improvement on its utilities which will be essential in connection with this new harbor facility and the new industries coming in.
I wish to stress that to show that the State of Georgia and the city of Savannah are certainly doing their part in the development of our harbor. Of course, we are unable to furnish the deeper water. That is the Federal Government's duty and obligation, and these expenditures which the State and the city are making of over $12,000,000, and the private industry which has already obligated itself for over $8,000,000, are all contingent upon the good faith of the Federal Government in making this deeper harbor and extending this channel.
In that connection, I would like for you, if you have the figures, and I do not believe that they show in any of the reports, to give us some data as to the difference in freight rates or in rates on ships, cargo rates, for these larger vessels that will be able to come in by virtue of this 34-foot harbor over the vessels which now can come in.
Colonel FERINGA. I will do that with pleasure right now, because that is a matter of great interest to me. We have previously given this committee, as part of the research information obtained by the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, that deep-sea tankers carry petroleum at a cost of from 1 to 1.25 mills per ton mile. I talked