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Step by Step Guide to Cleaning ROVs for Potable Water Use

Rachel Doornekamp   |   July 24, 2020

In order to maintain optimal water quality, regular tank inspections and cleanings are a necessity. Unfortunately, traditional tank operations can come with numerous costs and issues including hiring divers, draining tanks and suspending service.

With Deep Trekker’s submersible ROVs, users can perform accurate inspections from topside - without draining tanks or putting them out of service. Furthermore the use of robots keeps divers away from unnecessary risks and complications.

Using the live video feed from the ROV camera, pilots can complete the inspection while recording everything seen by the ROV. Simultaneously take photos or videos and record voice notes to the video for archiving and review purposes. With Deep Trekker, consistent and accurate tank inspections can be conducted with minimal time and financial interference.

With the DT640 VAC users can conduct tank floor cleaning. The vacuum head allows operators to effectively clean sediment and sludge via a pump and hose attached to the vacuum head.

One of the major risks associated with sending divers into tanks is the risk of contamination from their equipment if they do not follow a strict procedure. There are a lot of “nooks and crannies” on a dive suit that can hold bacteria and other potentially harmful materials to the potable water.

“It’s nice to save my divers from unneeded climbing or entry into a tank that was in good shape,” Mountain West Commercial Diving’s Jake Spaulding adds, “It is so much nicer to hoist the ROV to the top of a tower than it is to send a diver dressed in up a 65 ft ladder. Now we only send in divers if we know what is needed.”

Due to their ease of use, portability and ability to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, Deep Trekker ROVs are ideal for potable water tank inspections and cleaning. When working on potable water tanks, there are specific procedures that must be followed to ensure the cleanliness and safety of the water. Unsure of what a good procedure is to follow for potable water tanks or mains? We’ve outlined the primary steps for cleaning a Deep Trekker vehicle below used by professionals in the industry.

1. Verify equipment has been dedicated strictly for potable water use only.

It is absolutely imperative that the ROV and related equipment is used for potable water only. Find a process that works for you and your company to verify which vehicles are used exclusively for potable water. It may also be helpful to have a system in place to track where and when each vehicle has been used to serve as further confirmation.

2. Obtain new (unused) plastic sheets, these new plastic sheets will be disinfected regardless.

Plastic sheets are necessary for a thorough cleaning of the vehicle. The use of plastic sheets saves the vehicle and related equipment from being placed on the ground or floor. While these sheets will be disinfected regardless, it is important that these plastic sheets are unused to further verify cleanliness.

The vehicle and tether, as well as any cords, rope or additional equipment, will later be spread out onto these sheets for cleaning.

3. Obtain disinfection solution.

The disinfection solution must consist of a 200mg/Litre mixture and NSF/ANSI Standard 60 Fresh Chlorine Bleach, as per AWWA C652-02, section 4.3.2 3.

4. Disinfect plastic sheets using the disinfectant solution.

Using the approved disinfecting solution, the plastic sheets should be thoroughly cleaned. Unused disposable protective gloves and clothing are necessary during this procedure to protect the personnel involved.

5. Vehicle and tether will be spread on a clean and disinfected ground sheet and sprayed down with the disinfection solution.

Spread the vehicle and tether on a clean and disinfected ground sheet. Thoroughly spray down materials with the disinfection solution.

All plastic ropes and cables, used to hoist a vehicle for example, will be treated in the same manner. All disinfected cords, ropes and equipment will be placed on clean, disinfected ground sheets while other components are being treated.

**Please note that these procedures are just guidelines and not according to any official regulations. Regulations differ slightly from region to region, so it is important to check with your local authorities on best practices.

Effective Inspection

Effective inspection and cleaning is crucial for good water maintenance. In water storage tanks, the water sits virtually still. Over time, sediment sinks to the bottom. Even your drinking water has some particles and minerals in it. Small amounts of sediment have no impact on the quality of the water or the health of those who drink it, it also has next to zero impact on the structural integrity of the storage tank.

However, over time as that sediment builds up and mixes into thicker sludge material, it can have impacts on the quality of the water and on the structure of the tank. Any tank manufacturer recommends regular water tower inspections and subsequent cleaning of the tanks to ensure long-term integrity.

Having a robotic device such as the DT640 on hand enables you to efficiently perform cleaning on tanks in regular intervals to avoid having build up of sediment or sludge over time. The low cost of the vehicle makes it realistic to have an ongoing maintenance program for water storage tanks, whether as a service provider or as the municipality themselves.

Benefits of an ROV

Without an ROV the inspection and cleaning of water tanks is typically done by commercial divers. This entails using a team of divers and spotters entering the enclosed space. This can be both risky and expensive.

Furthermore placing a human diver in drinking water is not the most sanitary option. It is difficult and expensive to sanitize an entire dive suit, which may also have been used in non-drinking water applications prior to entering the tank.

If you would like to learn more about the use of Deep Trekker vehicles for tank inspections check out ROV Hacks for Tank Inspection and Maintaining Water Quality with Deep Trekker. You can also read our case study with B&N Inspection and Supply.

Our team is here for any questions you may have, reach out today! When you’re ready for a vehicle of your own get a customized quote to design the perfect vehicle for you.