« Saturday, January 31 @ The Main Club | Main | DTV conversion test »

Mystery Pipe

What is this thing on Park Point? How did it get there?

pipe 1.JPG

pipe 2.JPG

pipe 3.JPG

Bonus photo: The most climbable tree on Park Point


during the summertime, it appeared that "they" were attempting to rebuild the giant rock barricade out there, because water had gotten around it and formed a pretty big pool. that pipe runs all the way across the point into the harbor. i assumed that they used it to drain out the pool. but i really have no idea. there also used to be a bobcat out there, which you could get into and honk the horn and turn on the radio. pretty fun. (this is all assuming we're talking about the same giant mystery pipe on park point)

I really like the colors in the bonus photo!

That's the discharge end of a system of pipes that crosses from the harbor side to the lake side of Minnesota Point. Last fall they were dredging sand off the bottom of the main shipping channel somewhere between the mouth of the Nemadji River and the old King Midas Flour mill. The dredged material is pumped through the pipeline and discharged at the location in the photo in an attempt to replenish the sand on the beach. I don't think it has much to do with shoring up/reinforcing the end of the jetty or to keep water out from around the backside of it. Most of the jetty is built out of boulders with lots of spaces between them, so it's essentially fully permeable to water. It's more there for breaking waves in order to shelter the approaches to the ship canal and to keep the entire south end of Minnesota point (and therefore the location of the ship canal) from wandering slowly back and forth over time, as it would otherwise naturally do.

So there's that, and here's an off-topic question about another mystery structure: does anybody know what those things are that look like extra tall telephone poles with the pagoda-in-a-cylinder/air raid siren-looking things on top? Noticed them being put up along various streets in town starting when I came back for Thanksgiving '08. The first few were spotted along the road on Park Point and then right before I left town after Christmas I saw one or two on Michigan Street in Lincoln Park/West End. Wierd new street lights? Actual air-raid sirens? Orwellian public address systems? Squirrel and/or bird condos?

Those strange siren looking things are the new tornado warning sirens - so I have heard. I suppose they could be fired up in the event of a terrorist attack or some other major event. I think they lend a neat Jetsons quality to life.

Oh...THAT'S where I left it! Thanks!

A little known fact is that Paul Bunyan is a huge fan of renaissance festivals. This is the sword he made for his "Knight of Yor" costume. The fact that it looks more like a katana than a longsword means he plans to wear it at the Minnesota RenFest rather than places like Bristol.

He also has a sparring model, wrapped in pipe insulation foam.


It looks like a dog to me.

Definately a dog, but that red cape indicates it may be a super dog. Underdog? Commie Dog?

Thanks for asking the question about the pipe, vicarious, and even better, answering it, mar. I mentioned following the length of it in a post on my blog last November but wasn't sure what it was. My reaction was Huh? You're moving pollution from the harbor into the lake? That doesn't seem right.

markm, thanks for the answer.

eco, that's a good reaction/question. There are really strict regulations in place these days about what can be done with dredged material given the risk that it's polluted. If there's even a tiny chance that the material is contaminated the dredged material, a.k.a. "spoils", have to be deposited in a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF). A CDF is essentially a big enclosed basin lined with various materials and structures which are supposed to serve as barriers to contaminants leaking back out into the environment/water supply. The spoils are dumped in until the basin fills up. It's really expensive to keep building more CDFs, though, so these days everyone is bending over backward to do whatever they can to extend the lives of CDFs that are already built. Part of that includes experimenting with and deploying all sorts of technology and techniques to remove contaminants from spoils already deposited in the CDFs so that the cleaned material (sand, gravel, silt, clay, etc) can be removed and used in the construction industry, etc. That's what they're doing at Duluth-Superior's CDF, Erie Pier, the big square piece of land just northeast of the Duluth end of the Bong Bridge / just southwest of Hallett Dock 5 in West Duluth.

As far as the stuff in question being dredged up near the Superior entry - from what I understand they have to be very, very certain that the material is newly-deposited and considered uncontaminated for them to be able to 'dispose' of it as beach replenishment material. The area that they're dredging there is notorious for constant buildup of new sediment in the shipping channel, and has to be dredged every few years to keep it at the designated shipping channel depth. Just like any sediment anywhere near any concentration of human civilation these days, I doubt it's 100% clean, but it's probably the cleanest stuff you can dig off the bottom of the Twin Ports harbor and it's probably less contaminated than the soils and sediments that wash through urban storm drains into Lake Superior (and the harbor) from rains and snowmelt.

I love this community research. Great pics. This dredging just reminds me that we should only have lakers running around our lakes. The danger of international ships and even the invasive species already brought in are a problem.

I see these old pictures of fishermen in Duluth and their huge hauls of gigantic fish. I hate to admit, but our lake is pretty fished out.

Well, if global warming gets really bad and we live in some type of mad max reality, then I'll be the weirdo selling crayfish on 61. Anyone want some miniature Lake Superior Lobster?

That's part of my colossal Turbo Bong... I was feeling too sleepy to put it away the other day.

No international ships at all mevdev? Surely there are other solutions, like ballast water regulations etc.

Post a comment

Seriously: If you click "post" more than once, you're going to end up looking really stupid.

If you don't see your comment after it's published, try refreshing your browser.