Fixing dam spillway problems with coordinated divers

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While some major underwater facility operations can take months to complete, last fall saw a Midwestern dam spillway repaired in less than two weeks. Studying the process reveals the different phases that accompany such work, as well as the different elements that need to be accounted for to meet established goals. This case in particular involved multiple materials, including grout, carbon steel and sheet pile.

Hydro World recently re-examined this project as part of a look at multiple underwater work case studies. As this source describes, the divers were deployed after an inspection discovered “a bulged area of sheet pile.” Addressing this issue forced the crew to contend with punishing low temperatures and poor visibility, among other challenges.

Nevertheless, the divers cut the pile, installed anchor rods and added grout to the hole left behind. The procedure also involved the use of a “geotextile membrane” in the spillway toe, along with custom grout bags, before the final inspection was conducted.

The company in charge of this work, Underwater Construction Corporation, describes the operation in more detail on its own website.

“The bags were filled with a flowable grout mix with 5,000 pounds per square inch (psi) design strength,” it reads. “The grout mix was placed by pump truck using a 3-inch tremie pipe. Once the bags cured overnight, divers pumped approximately 26 cubic yards of the same 5,000 psi grout into the repair area.”

Work this intense may require insurance that fits the duration of work and all associated risks. Firms that specialize in insurance for commercial divers will be ready to provide the right coverage for divers placing themselves into dangerous situations.

 

 

 

 

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