UCI - Underwater & Harsh Environment Inspection Services
At UCI we provide our clients with underwater inspection for pre-design, post-construction, routine, and emergency projects. Our divers have inspected nearly a thousand underwater bridge substructures including some of the largest and most well known bridges in the world like the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the Tappan Zee Bridge for clients such as the NYDOT, NY Thruway Authority, Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority, NY Bridge Authority, NJDOT, MSDOT, MO Highway Department and the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and various railroad companies. Scour surveys are one of the services that we have provided to Owners of scour critical bridges that cross waterways. We employ National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) certified bridge inspection personnel who are qualified to perform inspections and ratings of bridge superstructures, decks, and substructures. Those employees include Team Leaders, Bridge Inspectors, and Underwater Bridge Inspectors.
We have inspected several hundred thousand feet of underwater pipeline for Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company and National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation. Our underwater gas & oil pipeline inspection and repair teams are Operator Qualified to perform covered tasks as per 49 CFR, Parts 192 & 195.
Since 2002, we have been providing the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Facility Design and Construction with underwater inspection, repair, and maintenance at high hazard dams statewide and have recently entered into a Professional Services Agreement to keep us in that position until 2019. We‘ve completed two, one year long contracts performing high hazard dam inspection and repair for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)-Division of Dam Safety has been recommending our services to private owners. We recently teamed with PA DEP to produce a video news documentary about dam inspection which was broadcast on CNN and the Fox Business Network. We routinely provide dam outlet works inspection for public entities such as parks departments, water departments, counties, towns, municipalities, and those agencies tasked with flood control. Mining companies with dams which impound slurry or tailings as well as private homeowner's associations have utilized our services to comply with the governmental requirements for inspecting High Hazard Dams. In support of engineering firms that were in the design phase of a project, we've performed pre-construction inspections on dam inlet and outlet works, and then post-construction inspection upon completion of the project. UCI is a current and active member of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO).
Our divers inspected over 80,000 linear feet of substructures within the world famous Erie Canal, which included locks, approach walls, guide piers, spillways, dams, dive culverts and guard gates. We have developed proprietary procedures for long internal pipe and tunnel penetrations that exceed existing regulations, and can provide owners with ultrasonic and magnetic particle non-destructive testing, real-time color video, still photography, sonar imagery, and more. If manned intervention is either unsafe or not possible, we offer robotic crawlers with pan and tilt cameras, and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) services.
At UCI, we've inspected dams, reservoirs, bridges, docks, aids to navigation, hazards to navigation, gas and oil pipelines, waste water outfalls, water intake pipelines, water intake structures, potable water treatment plants, all types of gates and valves, tanks, power plants, and naval vessels. We recently inspected sewage digesters and clarifiers while full and in operation at a duck farm. If it's underwater or in a harsh environment, we've inspected it.
There is a difference in underwater inspection companies.
Many diving companies will employ an entry level diver just out of dive school and send him underwater to inspect your project when he has no idea of what he is looking at or what he should be looking for. Don't take the chance on getting a substandard inspection. Our diving inspectors and supervisors have worked their way up to their current position and they understand your needs and work hard to make sure that you get a complete and accurate underwater inspection. When you utilize our inspection services we can guarantee you that the Diving Supervisor assigned to your project will be an engineer who has training in the inspection of your type of underwater structure.
Owners or Engineers
Ask for a sample video of an underwater inspection that we performed in absolute zero visibility and see how easy it is to understand and visualize what the diver is describing. You will only get this with an experienced inspection diver who understands what he is inspecting and how to communicate his findings. An underwater video is only as good as the diver performing the narration of what he is inspecting; the video footage is of secondary importance. This sample video will prove that a good inspection can be performed in zero visibility and therefore without pictures, but a video without proper narration is of very little use.
Many underwater inspection projects require hydrographic surveying.
UCI owns and operates an Innerspace Ecosounder interfaced with sub-meter DGPS for positioning and Coastal Hypac Max Surveying Software. Our surveyor has world class experience in not only hydrographic surveying but also in sonar searches having worked on such notable projects of the location of debris from TWA Flight 800 and Egypt Air Flight 990. For pipeline depth of burial projects UCI has recently entered into an agreement to utilize the most modern piece of underwater equipment, the Optimal Ranging FieldSens Underwater Utility Mapping System. In combination with a vessel’s echo sounder, the difference between bottom depth and utility depth can provide depth of cover measurements, with each value accompanied by a confidence interval. FieldSens relies on Bluetooth and IEEE 802.15.4 wireless technology to integrate GPS, depth sounder, and tow cable length measurements. Additionally, we can perform magnetometer or gradiometer surveys for ferrous metal objects and sub-bottom profiling to get a picture of what’s below the mudline.
Harsh Environment Structure Inspection
Besides performing inspections of underwater structures UCI performs inspection work in dry harsh environments. These environments are anywhere which require special equipment to protect the inspector from hazards such as an atmosphere that is unsuitable for breathing or contact with substances which could cause injury. Some examples of this type of environment are the interiors of tanks or rail cars which have contained hazardous materials. UCI maintains a stock of various types of protective suits, boots gloves, etc. to protect the entrant/inspector. We stock Level C and Level B suits and can obtain Level A suits if needed for the most challenging environments. We also maintain a large supply of SCBA’s and supplied air equipment. We have communication equipment to equip over 100 people simultaneously to distances of many thousands of feet. We own over 50 multi-gas air monitors for personal atmospheric air monitoring which test for oxygen levels, carbon monoxide, lower explosive limit, hydrogen sulfide, and volatile organic compounds, plus we have many single gas air monitors which have interchangeable sensors that can identify the presence of hazardous gasses.
Over the past several years we have begun performing internal pipeline inspections when anomalies are located inside of a natural gas transmission pipeline as determined by a “smart pig”. These are pipelines which may be buried or directionally drilled either on land or underneath bodies of water and the anomalies may be located hundreds or even thousands of feet from the point of entrance to the pipeline. Some of the inspection work that we have performed has been photography, video, ultrasonic thickness measurements, laser measurement to determine if an out-of-round condition exists, circumferential measurements to determine if the pipe has expanded excessively when hydro static testing was performed, metallurgical chemistry testing, and more. Some of the clients that we have performed this type of work for are Boardwalk Pipeline Partners and their divisions Gulf South Pipeline, Gulf Crossing Pipeline, and Texas Gas Transmission. We’ve also recently assisted Buckeye Pipeline Company when they had a large frac-out while directionally drilling a new pipeline.
The same trained inspectors who perform our underwater inspections are available to perform your harsh environment inspection work backed up by a full support team who double as the Permit-Required Confined Space Rescue Team. Successful completion of these types of projects requires proper prior planning, previous experience, and the right equipment. While performing harsh environment inspection work we have never had an accident or even an incident. We are one of the few if not the only company successfully performing this type of work throughout the world.