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Plant Intake Line Penetration

PROJECT TITLE: Plant Intake Line Penetration


CLIENT: Power Plant


We were called to get inside multiple lines that had internal access through the plant’s condenser unit, to perform video inspection and non-distructive testing (NDT). This photo shows our control station, necessary for communications with the diver and monitoring of his air.

We were called specifically because we have several umbilicals—lifelines carrying air, comms and power—over 1000’ feet long, which enable a diver to safely penetrate and inspect such lines. A penetration such as this one is extremely difficult and lengthy. They can be grueling for the diver(s), so we often employ several divers in succession, to be able to reach the entire distance we need to cover in the line.

Due to the length of the intake lines, we had to access them from each end. Access in the plant was not straightforward. We could only get in through small openings in the condenser box inside the plant. The condenser box was approximately 15 feet above settled water.


Every industrial dive job must take into account the unusal settings we encounter in each project. In general, these systems are not designed to be inspected as such, so it may take several months of working with a client to come up with a solution that can be accomplished effectively and safely.

This entire job was a challenge from start to finish. A penetration is labeled as such because a diver is penetrating through an access point that he/she must also exit. In other words, there is no other way out. So if one travels a thousand feet into the line and an issue is discovered, the entrant must retrace their steps to get back out.

Many divers are not comfortable with this increase in danger to an already dangerous profession. They sometimes don’t realize they are affected by this discomfort until after they enter the confined space. This is when our staff of deeply experienced divers really sets us apart from others in the industry.

We built carts to negotiate the narrow corridors of the plant, and used multiple divers and tenders inside the condenser box to navigate the turns in the lines.


Our successful entry, navigation and inspection yielded data that gives our client a baseline condition status of their intake and outfall system. This will allow them to allocate their cleaning and maintenance resources according to known facts, rather than a best guess about the conditions inside their infrastructure.