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Dam Inspection: A Day at Still Creek Dam

Kiara Vallier   |   October 21, 2021

We've been busy lately visiting various municipalities, police forces, aquaculture sites, and water treatment plants showcasing both our portable ROV systems and our new product line, the DT340 Pipe Crawler.

One project in particular, took place at the Still Creek Dam in Tamaqua, PA. Cody and Sam packed up the crawler and headed down to perform a routine inspection of the gates and intake.


This sort of application was unique for the DT340; traditionally pipe crawlers are used in water treatment and sanitary pipeline inspections - but this time it was going to access a submerged entry point in a hydro-electric dam.

The inspection team determined a wheeled-vehicle would be the best solution to keep traction and maneuver with the flow in the pipe. The tender for the job also required an NASSCO compliant inspection, an easy requirement to fulfill when the DT340 Pipe Crawler’s pan and tilt camera readings are combined with the tether distance counter. The next obstacle was the entry point was 90 feet underwater. It was these factors that made the DT340 pipe crawler was the ideal product to deploy, with its ability to be fully submerged in up to 164 feet (50 meters) of water.

The demo was part of the dam’s 10 routine inspection of the intake pipes and gates. Deep Trekker was called upon to look at the condition of the pipe, check for any blockages, and a visual documentation so that the engineers at the dam could decide whether to recommend a cleaning or any rehabilitation for the intake.


To begin the inspection, commercial divers lowered the DT340 Pipe Crawler 90 feet underwater to deploy it at the entry point to the pipe. The intakes were 36” and 20” in diameter and the pipe was 490 feet in length.

The DT340 performed very well during this inspection. Despite the extremely murky waters, the pipe crawler was able to determine that the pipe was in good structural condition; though it did have some easily fixable marine growth and corrosion.

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This particular dam was in a reservoir, thus the water flowing through the pipe is not 'finished water', meaning that the potential for leakage wasn't as much of a concern as it would have been if it was finished water. As such, the inspection focused mainly on determining the condition of the gates, the seals on the gates and whether there was any blockage.

This demo goes to show that not only are ROVs great inspection tools for dams, the DT340 Pipe Crawler also has its place to reduce costs and increase the safety for divers.

Looking for more? Learn what makes the DT340 different from other pipe crawlers.



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