Remote Underwater Camera Vs Diver inspection

The remote underwater camera gives you a lot of information for the money, allowing you to see a good portion if not all of the interior roof and floor area of most tanks and towers under 500,000 gallons.  Our next step up from the Remote Camera is a Remotely Controlled Vehicle (ROV).

iNSPECTOR USING A REMOTE VIDEO CAMERA

Underwater Tank Inspection Camera & lighting system

Underwater video cameras designed to inspect potable water storage towers can deliver the most information for the lowest cost when used by a skilled inspection technician.

Inspection Technician

The right equipment makes the difference.  In addition to a underwater camera and lighting system the inspection contractor should be equipped with proper safety & climbing gear along with the ability to properly document all inspection points on site.

While some water utility operators prefer to have their tanks inspected by Certified divers others prefer the safer method of using an underwater camera or remotely operated vehicle (ROV).  The ROV shown below is a Video Ray, it weighs about eight pounds making it an excellent inspection tool for potable water tank inspections. The small ROV can get to the rear of large water storage tanks and look at specific points of interest.

Video Ray Remotely Operated Vehicle
Potable water Diver with communications mask & redundant air

It is true the diver can deliver a more detailed inspection, it is also true that is usually at a much higher cost both in money and risk to human life.  The diver needs at least two tenders to safely enter a confined space, while a field technician with an underwater camera sends his camera into harms way.   Our company employs all three methods each has its advantage and disadvantage.  The remote camera is by far our most popular way to inspect water storage towers, due in great part to the low cost.

The remote underwater camera gives you a lot of information for the money, allowing you to see a good portion if not all of the intirior roof and floor area of most tanks and towers under 500,000 gallons.  Our next step up from the Remote Camera is a Remotely Controlled Vehicle (ROV).  This is a unit that has an underwater camera and motors with props that allow it to go to the rear of large tanks or look a a specific point.  Be carful with deceptive contractors that try to pass off a remote underwater camera as an ROV saying it stands for Remotely Operated Video.

Interior Roof of A water storage tank

Interior Roof of A water storage tank

All three inspection methods will document Interior conditions including the interior roof, walls and floor areas.  All outside conditions are also photographed including exterior roof, vents and overflows. Using a diver or ROV inspection on tanks Tanks under 500,000 gallons may be overkill unless there are specific objectives to me met that the simple underwater video camera can not meet.  In larger facilities the underwater video system may not give you 100% coverage but still gives you a first hand look at interior conditions including the sediment levels on the floor of the tank.

Both the remote underwater camera and the ROV put the equipment not the person into the confined space containing potable water.  The diver inspection requires a much larger operation.  The diver can use a remotely controlled underwater video system that is being viewed and recorded by the top side dive team or he can use a diver held camera that is actually a camcorder in an underwater housing.  All the equipment he is using and wearing should be purchased for and only used in potable water.  When selecting a ROV or diving contractor you should do your homework.  Check out their main web site and see what kind of work they are promoting. If the Web site is focused on off shore activities, the company may only be working in potable water as a sideline. Further investigation may show them using the exact same identifiable  gear in potable water storage tanks that they use in muddy canals or even waste water.  A little online research will go a long way when you want to determine who to trust the safety of your water system to.  Microbiological contamination is a real concern when allowing access to your potable water storage tanks.  For more information on bacteria and other contaminants visit my Water Project blog at http://www.ronperrin.us  scroll down to the contaminate article or watch the bacteria reproduction video.

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