The Tampa Water Department called in a specialized dive team on Tuesday and Wednesday to remove two underwater valves, helping increase water flow and provide drinking water to the public. The valves are between and 3 and 4.5 feet wide. Crews needed to remove the valves in order to allow water to pass unrestricted during the water treatment process.
Preparing to Dive:
Water Department staff took several precautions ahead of the dive. The two dive team members went through a lengthy disinfection process before going into the chamber. They used protective gear including weighted boots, belts, and heavy steel helmets. Crews also took time to wash, rinse, and sanitize the gear and tools ahead of the operation.
Once inside the water chamber, the dive team used pneumatic chisels to remove the thick layer of minerals that completely encrusted the valves, rendering them inoperable. The crew returned the following day and used an underwater torch to cut the fasteners, pry the heavy valves free from the walls of the chamber, and then lift them out. The 3-foot valve weighs approximately 3,500 pounds while the 4.5-foot valve weighs approximately 7,500 pounds. This project took two full days to complete.
Reason Crews Removed the Valves:
The Tampa Water Department removed the valves in order to prepare the area for an upgraded water treatment process under the PIPES project, which is a key part of Mayor Jane Castor’s Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow initiative. The Tampa Water Department provides a robust supply of safe, clean water to 710,000 customers each day.
Your Utility Dollars at Work:
This project is one of many funded through PIPES (Progressive Infrastructure Plan to Ensure Sustainability), the city’s $2.9 billion funding plan. PIPES will help to transform and update Tampa’s 100-year-old water infrastructure. For more information on PIPES and how the Water Department is putting utility dollars to work, visit https://www.tampa.gov/initiatives/pipes.