Contaminated Water Diving – Diving in Tailings

February 23, 2022

According to the US Navy Guidance for Diving in Contaminated Waters (CWD), “contaminated water is defined as water which contains any chemical, biological, or radioactive substance which poses a chronic or acute health risk to exposed personnel”. Depending on the type of contamination in the water, these can be classified in category 1, 2, 3 or 4, being tailings considered category 1, as they present highly contaminated water (potentially arsenic, cyanide, copper, zinc, chromium and lead, among others) and extreme risk of injury (even death) to an unprotected diver.

Based on the foregoing, there is special equipment to avoid the diver’s exposure to the contaminated environment, keeping him completely encapsulated inside a vulcanized rubber suit (gloves and boots included), together with a sophisticated diving helmet that, in addition to keeping the isolated diver, it allows supplying him with the necessary gases to breathe from the surface and keeping him communicated and connected through hoses and cables called umbilicals.

However, the diver is not alone. In order to carry out this type of operation, an entire surface team is required to provide the necessary safety conditions for the diver inside the tailings deposit. They are the ones who carry out the checks prior to the dive, guide and accompany him (via communications) during the execution of the work and are in charge of washing, decontamination, and disinfection upon his return to the surface.

This is how our company has been providing support for more than 10 years in tailings deposits, reactors and biodigesters in the mining, alimentary, cellulose, and sanitary services industries, providing to our clients a high quality service with the highest safety and security standards, according to the requirements of the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI), of which we have been an active member since 2014.

Juan Pablo Tessada Lüscher: Diving and Salvage Operations, Diving Service Salvage SpA, Projects Manager, ZIP 2340000. Phone: +56989227799. Email: jp.tessada@divingservice.cl


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