BPUB Taps Divers to Clean Out Resacas at Gladys Porter Zoo

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – The Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) has contracted with American Underwater Services (AUS) to use divers to clean out the resaca system at Gladys Porter Zoo as part of BPUB’s Resaca Restoration Project.

BPUB used a large dredger to clean the Cemetery Resaca and Dean Porter Park Resaca, but conditions at the zoo didn’t allow for the use of the large dredger. The resaca channels at the zoo are too narrow for the large boat to fit in the water, and there are additional obstacles, like foot bridges, that the boat wouldn’t be able to safely travel under.

A different tactic was needed to address this problem, and that is when BPUB turned to diver-guided dredging. AUS specializes in performing this kind of challenging work. The process AUS divers use is similar to what was done at Old City Cemetery and Dean Porter Park but allows for the ability to squeeze into tighter spaces and reach spots that would otherwise be inaccessible.


AUS divers go into the water and use a large suction hose to remove accumulated sediment in the water. It works much like a vacuum. A custom-built dredge, one designed to fit in compact spaces, is used to power the suction hose that is controlled by a specially trained diver. The diver can control what debris is removed and can distinguish between the loose sediment that should be removed and the natural clay bottom that should remain. The removed sediment travels to BPUB’s dewatering station where dredged sediment is separated from the slurry to produce dry sediment material and a clear, clean effluent is discharged back into the resacas.

“We needed to find a more out-of-the-box solution for what needed to be done at Gladys Porter Zoo, and BPUB prides itself in coming up with those kinds of solutions. AUS provided just what we needed to get the job done. We’re very excited about the partnership that BPUB is forming with AUS and Gladys Porter Zoo,” says BPUB’s General Manager & CEO John S. Bruciak