ROVworld Subsea Information

ROV saves power company million$
Date: Friday, February 27, 2004 @ 09:35:10 EST

Adventure, Depth and Technology (ADT), a remote imaging and underwater survey company based in Santa Cruz, CA, recently joined forces with Advanced Diving Systems(ADS) from Mesquite, Nevada to investigate and document a 10,000 gallon per minute water leak from a high altitude reservoir in Utah. If not located and sealed, the leak would cause the shut down of a power plant, at an estimated cost of $80 million a month.

During the summer of 2002 divers were brought in to locate the source of the leak. With extremely poor visibility from algae growth and summer runoff, they were unable to do so. The power company, which services the greater Salt Lake City area, made a decision to wait until winter when the lake was frozen, knowing water clarity would be at its peak and the ice would provide a stable work platform. Their plan was to bring in an ROV, deploy it through the ice and do a complete underwater survey. Having no prior experience with this type of operation, plant officials had some concerns about whether the job could be accomplished as they envisioned.

In February of 2003 the ADT and ADS teams were contracted to perform the reservoir survey operation. ADT brought in their Fisher SeaLion ROV and Diver Mag 1 hand-held magnetometer. The remoteness of the site required all equipment be transported in by snowmobiles and transport sleds. An on-site dive station and electronics room, a 12 by 18 foot canvas tent, was set up close to the suspected fault lines. The ice camp was reminiscent of early expeditions to the North and South Poles, with one exception, the addition of a 55,000 BTU heater! Over 9 frosty days the crews worked at an altitude of 8,500 feet in near zero temperatures with snow falling every day.

Capt. Wings Stocks, owner and president of ADT reported, that After cutting triangular access holes through 18 inches of ice, a survey grid was established and the SeaLion went to work. After many hours of running grid lines with the ROV this first fault was finally located. The operator brought the ROV up to the surface until it was resting under the ice. The Diver Mag 1 was used to pinpoint the exact location of the ROV and a GPS position was taken. Over the course of the week several more faults were located and tracked. Each one was videotaped and position documented. Capt. Wings reported, the SeaLion worked flawlessly, 7 hours a day, for nine straight days.

The power companys chief geologist repeatedly commented on the performance of the ROV - not only on its ability to fly and hover, but on its reliability despite the extreme weather. The daily entourage of company executives visiting the site developed a very high regard for our team and the ROV. When the project was finished we were proud of what we had accomplished under such harsh conditions. After completing the job to the satisfaction of all involved, we were happy to return to the warmth of home.

The decision to call in ADT was based both on their experience in remote sensing and also on their extensive knowledge of underwater operations. Capt. Stocks came highly recommended with a well established reputation in the diving and marine industry. His career spans over 30 years in the field. First introduced to diving as a Marine stationed in Okinawa in the early 70s, he began to pursue a career in dive education upon his return home. He received instructor training in Colorado before heading to Florida to put his new skills to the test. After teaching scuba and working in a number of dive operations around the sunshine state, he headed out to California in the late 70s to run a dive shop in the San Francisco area. In 1981, Wings as he prefers to be called, and his wife Ani moved to Santa Cruz and opened their own dive shop, Ocean Odyssey.

As technical diving came into its own in the early 90s, Wings, along with Billy Dean, Dick Rutkowski, and a handful of others, became pioneers in the field, writing the book on cave and deep wreck diving. Exploring new career opportunities in the late 90s he started doing professional videography for commercial customers with projects like the filming of underwater instrument packages in their working environments. As his reputation for doing top-notch commercial work grew, he began getting requests to perform search and survey operations. He made the decision to invest in the equipment needed for these operations acquiring a side scan sonar, SeaLion ROV, Pulse 8X underwater metal detector, Pulse 12 boat-towed metal detector, and the Diver Mag 1. This equipment, coupled with his technical diving gear, fully outfitted 26 custom fiberglass boat, and Ford F450 box truck to tow the boat and carry all the gear, gave him the capability to perform almost any type of search or salvage operation.

Capt. Stocks professional qualifications include; USCG 100 ton skipper, Master Diving Instructor, Dive Operations Supervisor, and Trimix Rebreather Instructor. He has worked on a number of high profile salvage operations including the Brother Jonathan recovery, Andrea Doria expeditions, and the Pilar project in Guam.

23 February 2004


This article comes from ROVworld Subsea Information

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