We were hired to install blanking flanges on the upstream end of a high altitude dam in 150 ffw so our client could perform maintenance on the three valves in the outlet works piping of Relief Reservoir.
This remote reservoir is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at an elevation of 7,300 ft with no road access to the facility. All equipment and materials for this site is brought in by helicopter or mules. Due to the high elevation and depth of dive operations mixed gas diving was the primary form of diving employed to maximize working bottom time. Due to the greater decompression requirements of mixed gas techniques decompression chambers are utilized to ensure the diver’s safety.
A heavy lift helicopter (Sky Crane) was brought in to transport sectional barge pieces since the the crest of the dam was not wide enough for the dive equipment. Each piece was 15 ft by 7 1/2 ft and weighed over 8,500 pounds. Together they created a 30 ft by 45 ft dive barge. The heavy lift helicopter then lifted two decompression chambers and a dive van from the staging area in Kennedy Meadows to Relief Reservoir,a five minute flight.
Helicopter operations included a comprehensive security plan as the staging area is a high traffic tourist site for pack trains and hikers.
Upon completion in the mid 1920’s,Dix Dam was the largest rock filled dam in the world standing approximately 287 feet above the riverbed. It was built in the private sector by it’s current owner,Kentucky Utilities Company,to create a reservoir for operating a hydroelectric generating station.
Global was selected to perform and manage repair work to an existing earth filled dam. Divers removed debris including cars,trees,and sediment from several areas of the dam and then these areas were surveyed using sonar and tactile methods. Damaged areas of the face slab were covered using sheet membrane secured to the face of the dam. Work took place in up to 140 feet of water.
Global Diving & Salvage,Inc was the prime contractor / project manager responsible for the modification and cleaning of the SeaLife Center’s intake lines. The first phase of the project was to install a pig launcher system; tasks included dewatering the Center’s wet well,installing an isolation valve between the well’s chambers,and saw cutting new access holes in the pump room floor.
The second phase of the project consisted of the dive crew cutting a 24 inch HDPE pipe and lifting it out of the soft bottom material to allow for an ROV inspection of the intake pipe. The inspection was short lived as the pipe was impassable due to marine growth and sediment. In order to clean the lines,several cleaning pigs were launched to remove the blockage. A new intake screen and support structure was installed along with a remotely operated pig catcher.
Dive crews worked off of a barge with a 150 ton crane and four point mooring system that was strategically anchored over the buried intake support functions. A deep gas dive system was utilized to accommodate dive operations in up to 260′ of seawater. The final quality control inspection was performed by an ROV flying over 200′ up the pipe to inspect for marine growth and debris.
Our California region was contracted to assist with repairs to a 30” low level dam outlet gate. Phase 1 of the project included silt relocation efforts and a ROV inspection to monitor the progress. During phase 2,divers removed and replaced the existing cylinder after repairs to the gate.
Diving depths were in the range of 100 ffw at an elevation of 3000 ft. Due to this elevation and water depth combination surface decompression was utilized.