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Underwater Drone Inspects USA County Reservoir

Brendan Cook   |   March 17, 2017

USA reservoir in Clark County, Vancouver, Washington, uses an underwater drone, known as a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), to inspect water service supply to local communities.

USA Reservoir Inspection | Clark Public Utilities (CPU) is committed to providing customers with the most reliable, affordable service possible. But a lot has to go on behind the scenes to make that happen. As a publicly owned utility in Vancouver, WA, they are committed to bringing their community of more than 193,000 customers the most reliable and affordable electricity and water services possible. With this in mind, CPU sought after the means to keep their services online while conducting routine safety and maintenance inspections of their 35 water reservoirs.

In the past, these reservoirs would have needed to be drained in order to have them safely inspected by an individual; some of these reservoirs would have as much as 3 million gallons of water to empty. With these tanks offline, fire flow service to the communities would be reduced for a limited time. If interrupting the service was not enough, there is also an associated cost to draining and then refilling these tanks.

potable-water-tower-inspectionThe average reservoir contains 660,000 gal which equals approximately $1,632 worth of water for the community; adding the cost factor of draining and filling the tank which could take up to 16 hours, an average reservoir inspection would cost upwards of $3,000. That is just the average tank; as mentioned before, Clark Public Utilities even has a 3 million gallon reservoir which would have $7,420 worth of deliverable water stored within it.

Continually shutting down the tanks to conduct their routine inspections had become a costly affair which is why they were looking for options to keep their supply in operation; all while maintaining the highest of standards in quality services for their communities. This led them to Deep Trekker; a manufacturer of submersible inspection Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) otherwise known as underwater drones.

Deep Trekker’s ideal reservoir inspection tool called the DTG2 ROV is commonly being used to inspect hydroelectric dams, reservoirs, and potable water systems across the United States. What makes this unit so perfect for conducting these inspections is its portability. With built-in lithium batteries, there is no need to drag around a topside generator to power the ROV. This compact yet robust system has the ability to be deployed from anywhere and operate up to 8 hours on a 90-minute charge.

With the purchase of the underwater drone, Clark Public Utilities was able to overcome the challenges faced during inspections. “Some of our reservoirs are in a pressure zone with no other reservoir,” explains Dan Charlson, the water quality manager at CPU. “It’s extra work to set up the pumping system to maintain pressure to our customers while we drain a reservoir.” The ROV gives the capability of conducting routine inspections and keeping the reservoirs online; ensuring there is no interruption of service to the community.

With the addition of the Deep Trekker Remotely Operated Vehicle, Clark Public Utilities have kept the tanks online during routine inspections; successively lowering operational costs and keeping the rates low for customers.

The Clark Public Utilities staff using the ROV are thoroughly impressed with the level of service provided by Deep Trekker’s team and plans to continue to use the underwater drone for all future inspections.

From the very beginning, Deep Trekker has set out to create a tool that would allow those who were previously unable to observe the underwater world the chance to do so by providing an affordable and easy to use underwater camera. As interest in the camera systems built over the years, Deep Trekker has expanded the product line to include various ROV packages, models such as the larger 4-vectored thruster system, the DTX2 ROV, and even introduce a portable pipe crawler system for municipal water inspections.

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