Discovering the Benefits of Underwater Drone Inspections for Water Storage Tanks

According to WaterWorld “In recent years, the water and wastewater industries have increasingly begun utilizing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) — commonly known as drones — to conduct visual inspections and monitoring of facilities and infrastructure including water towers and other remote and hard-to-reach locations. In fact, New Jersey American Water, an early adopter of drone technology in the water industry, conducted nearly 200 drone flights in 55 locations in 2017.” “Drones have the ability to increase efficiency and decrease costs in the water and wastewater industry”

Catastrophes caused by submerged asset failures in sectors such as Maritime, Infrastructure, Energy & Power have become a major concern in recent years. A single failure can have a significant impact on the business’s continuity. Furthermore, it may result in accidents on-site. ROVs and novel underwater inspection techniques were developed to address this problem. Inspections are critical to ensuring maximum efficiency and safety. However, they are time-consuming and expensive, so only a portion of an underwater asset can be inspected. To obtain accurate results and determine the frequency of inspections, some type of priority-based or risk-based inspection (RBI) must be used.

Underwater Drone Inspections are the answer to all of these issues. Asset managers will be able to see defects that would be impossible to find without the use of evolving statistical analysis systems. Underwater robotics go hand in hand. An on-site team will deploy the ROV, which will be carrying payloads such as remote cameras, lasers, and other advanced equipment. The inspection data will then be analyzed and digitally consolidated. This information will then be passed on to operational management, who will make decisions to protect the asset’s integrity.

One of the primary benefits of using an underwater robot for inspection is that it does not introduce contaminants into the water, as a diver might. Underwater drones can be fully sanitized with a chlorine solution prior to entering the tank without causing any harm to the ROV.

The Benefits of Underwater Drone Inspections for Water Storage Tanks:


      1. Doesn’t Introduce contaminants into the water

    One of the primary benefits of using an underwater robot for inspection is that it does not introduce contaminants into the water, as a diver might. Underwater drones can be fully sanitized with a chlorine solution prior to entering the tank without causing any harm to the ROV.


        1. There is no downtime for water availability

      A typical drain-down inspection involves the removal of a water tank while the inspection team enters the bowl. This necessitates wasting water that would otherwise be used. It also necessitates providing an alternate source of water (continuous pumping or a temporary water source) and disinfecting the tank before resuming service. The water tank can be kept operational with an ROV.


          1. They help conserve water

        A tank inspection with a dive crew frequently entails removing some of the water for sediment removal or completely removing the water for a drain-down inspection. Water removal is both costly and time-consuming. ROVs can operate inside a tank no matter how much or how little water remains in it.


            1. ROVs are cost-effective

          As previously stated, there is no need to hire an expensive dive team or remove tank water. When using an ROV instead of a dive team to inspect an elevated water storage tank, savings of up to 50% can be realized. When your consultant owns its own ROV equipment, you can save a lot of money.


              1. ROV inspections are more timely

            With the ROV, we can come in and perform a thorough inspection in a matter of hours. We can also complete a report in a matter of days.

            Utility operations include water tank inspections. Regular inspections ensure that the tanks are clean and operating properly, and a consistent inspection schedule allows for easy, ongoing maintenance – cost savings over time.

            What are the benefits of Underwater Drone Inspections as Asset Management:


                • Damage Control:

              The primary goal of any asset manager is to ensure damage control. Building a current set of information is the best way to reduce risk. A digital document will give you access to all critical data, such as the precise location of the defect, the type of defect, the required measurements, material descriptions, and much more. This reduces the likelihood of rework and improves the accuracy of on-site work. In the long run, this reduces risks and allows the manager to focus on more important issues.


                  • Asset Condition Assessment:

                Underwater Drone Inspection data assists owners in assessing the condition of their assets because it is delivered in an enhanced photo-realistic format. Cloud data can forecast the risks that the structure may face, allowing managers to take a proactive approach.


                    • Life-cycle Management:

                  Underwater infrastructure is designed to last for decades or centuries, but in order to do so, its life cycle must be expertly managed. The requirements of various phases must be addressed. Underwater Tank Inspection data provides critical reference points for comparing new findings or planning future expansions.


                      • Maintenance Planning:

                    Underwater structures are frequently subjected to extreme environmental stress. Underwater asset management necessitates regular surveys to track changes over time. Without the proper knowledge, maintenance planning can be arbitrary and costly.

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