Anodes Arrive for AK Harbor Corrosion Fix

MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2024

The final shipment of corrosion-inhibiting anodes for the Heritage Harbor in Wrangell, Alaska, reportedly arrived last month for divers to install at three locations.

The news comes a year after officials announced that an $880,294 contract was signed to place the anodes after discovering that the piers at city’s harbor had never had any installed and were already experiencing corrosion.

Project Background

In March of 2022, Wrangell’s Port and Harbors Department reportedly hired a diver to take a look at the pilings around Wrangell. Reports stated the investigation had found that anodes had never been connected to the steel pilings at Heritage Harbor when it was finished in 2009.

“He came out here and started doing a survey to kind of check the pilings and see what the anodes looked like,” Harbormaster Steve Miller told KSTK at the time “He called me and he’s like, ‘There’s no anodes.’”

These anodes reportedly act as “sacrificial pieces” of metal that can reduce long-term corrosion in harbor areas, and their inclusion is reportedly the industry standard at harbors.

The absence of the anodes reportedly influences the Heritage Harbor pilings. Miller stated that they look older than other pilings that do have anodes, though the Heritage pilings are newer.

Additionally, patches of rust underwater reportedly crumbled away under the diver’s hands, revealing “forearm-sized patches of disintegrating metal.”

The harbor was then reportedly in need of over 450 anodes to be welded underwater, onto pilings in the harbor. Each anode reportedly weighs “more than an average NFL linebacker.”

At the time, an engineering estimate put the cost of the project at $988,000, not including other docks without anodes such as the pilings at the municipal shipyard or its concrete dock.

According to Miller, the new anodes are expected to almost double the lifespan of the harbor’s components.

Then, in October 2023, the borough administration and government in Wrangell reportedly approved the contract to install corrosion-inhibiting anodes in the city’s harbor and two other points.

A report from the Wrangell Sentinel stated that the anodes would be installed in Wrangell’s Heritage Harbor by Juneau-based Global Diving and Salvage and funded through the Port and Harbors reserves.

Another report from KSTK had indicated that the contract to install these new anodes was approved at an assembly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

In addition to the funding for the anodes, Wrangell also reportedly considered a construction oversight contract with the anode project’s engineers for up to $50,000.

Latest Update

According to the report, divers will now work to install 830 anodes at Heritage Harbor, the Marine Service Center and City Dock, a T-shaped dock where cruise ships are secured.

“The anodes protect the pilings from basically rotting away,” Miller recently told KSTK. “Steel and saltwater just don’t get along and they tend to corrode and after 10 or 15, 20 years, they start showing it and then, of course, the cost of replacing them is much more expensive than putting in.”

He explained that there are many different electrical currents in the harbor, like DC and AC currents, and they need to find a way to ground, leading to the metal corroding.

Wrangell’s Borough Manager, Mason Villarma, said that out of all the locations, Heritage Harbor is the main focus.

“Heritage Harbor was the worst site, just with all the vessels there that conduct DC currents that don’t really have anything to latch on to other than the pilings themselves,” he said. “There’s some hotspots there, so Heritage getting those on there will be the biggest concern.”

Miller has reportedly asked patrons of the harbor to keep an eye out for divers and to give them space so they can complete the work. City officials expect the project to be completed by the end of this month. 


Tagged categories: Anodization; Contracts; Corrosion; Corrosion control coatings; Corrosion protection; Environmental Controls; Government; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Marine; Marine; NA; North America; Port Infrastructure; Program/Project Management; Quality control; Technology; Zinc anodes

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