Water Journal : Water Journal April 2013
WATER APRIL 2013 44 Feature Article TWO AREAS OF OPERATION The demand for divers on a mine site typically comes from two discrete areas: potable water supply and production water supply. While these may seem similar in nature, the equipment and procedures required to dive these assets is very different. It is very important when diving potable water assets to observe strict hygiene protocols in order to avoid water contamination. These protocols typically involve using special equipment that is dedicated only to potable water diving, chlorinating all equipment prior to entering the water and kitting divers in full dry suits to prevent contact with the water. Although this may sound straightforward, high water temperature on mine sites can often make the use of dry suits dif cult, due to the danger of the divers suffering heat stress (hyperthermia). Diving in potable water supplies typically involves routine cleaning and inspection of assets to remove sediment and check components for corrosion, wear or damage. Build-up of sediment on the oor of the tank increases the risk of naegleria or harmful bacterial pathogens residing in the storage facility, and can make it dif cult to hold required chlorine residuals. Without proper monitoring and regular preventative tank maintenance, these bacterial pathogens can pose a serious health risk to water users. Divers are used to remove the build- up of sediment from the tank oor using specialised suction systems. A well-prepared dive team will have water-ef cient cleaning systems for removing sediment quickly and easily from tank or reservoir oors. It is important that these systems do not require hydraulic uid or other chemicals to be fed inside the tank to ensure there is no risk of water contamination. A quali ed potable tank dive team, even if mobilised to the most remote of sites, should be fully self-contained and equipped to professionally record and report on the asset's condition using high quality underwater photographs and video. The use of divers mitigates the need to drain the asset, which not only saves water, but also saves costly procedures for bacterial testing and chlorination during re- lling. Potable water storage facilities come in all shapes and sizes, built for a variety of different purposes, but essentially they all share key components that need regular cleaning, inspection and maintenance to keep the asset online The diver undergoes safety checks prior to diving an open reservoir. Mine diving teams must be quali ed, portable and self-suf cient to operate ef ciently. A diver is chlorinated prior to diving a potable water tank.
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