Apparently technical diving takes many forms… even Poo Diving.
Brendan Walsh runs East West Dive and Salvage which provides diver services an various types of no-air environments. This even includes the sewage industry.
Austrailia’s sewage processing plants use bacteria to breakdown sewage by aeration process that involves huge stirring machines. These machines often break down and the only way to repair them is to dive in.
The diving environment is completely pitch black. The divers must rely on their sense of touch and their memory of photos taken before the tanks were filled.
Repairs are made by divers as they communicate with engineers on the surface in complete darkness.
Read on for more first hand details about how this is done.
So what’s broken here?
One of the motors. The motors are all in the ponds, and there’s no other way to access them without getting in. And it’s completely black down there, so we have to do everything by feel. Sewage farms take thousands of photos of their site, before they fill up the ponds, so we look carefully at the photos before we get in. The diver then makes the repairs in the dark by talking to the guys above the surface. The dive suits are all connected via radio, so we can provide directions in real time.
That all sounds like a design flaw. Shouldn’t there be an easier way?
Ah, you’d think so, but then it gives me a job. Got to earn the ex-wife money somehow.
So what is it like when you’re down there?
It’s completely black, and you have to more walk than swim. There’s no smell, though. All your air is bottled, so it’s actually worse for the guys who have to decontaminate you when you get out.
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