The water supply system of the Western United States is massive and essential. With 600 dams and reservoirs, 58 power plants and water resources supplied to more than 50 million people in 17 states, ensuring the infrastructure system's soundness is critical.
"There is no West without the dams," said Jim Jones, a physical science technician with the Bureau of Reclamation. "From San Diego up the coast to the Columbia in Washington, over to the Dakotas and down to Oklahoma and through Texas, we're responsible for all of that water and irrigation."
The water system is not only the second largest hydroelectric power provider in the U.S., it all provides irrigation for one-fifth of the farming community, which grows 60 per cent of the nation's vegetables and 25 per cent of its fruit and nuts.
Tasked with the monumental job of ensuring pipes and drains are clear and performing well, Jones and his small team travel the West constantly with Inuktun's Spectrum 90 camera and Versatrax 150 robotic track system.
He recently returned back to his home base in Denver after three weeks in Montana's Flathead Valley where he inspected dams and piping. The magnificent Grand Coulee Dam, the largest concrete structure in the U.S., in central Washington and the more famous Hoover Dam are just two of the important sites Jones inspects with the Spectrum 90.
Through high density polyethylene, concrete or steel pipes, the Spectrum 90 lights up the darkness with its flood and spot lighting to look for algae buildup, perforations in the pipes or blockages.
"It's important we know what's down there before we send in a jetter," said Jones. "If there is a problem and we don't see it we could blow a hole through a pipe. The Inuktun products have worked beautifully."
The Bureau of Reclamation no longer builds dams, some of which are more than 100 years old, so Jones has to be on the lookout for deteriorating pipelines and valves constantly within the massive water system.
The Spectrum 90, of which Jones employs four systems, with its compact size and aluminum and stainless steel construction, has been up to the task. Designed for applications like corrosion evaluation, dam and lock inspection, small diameter pipe surveillance and toxic environment inspections, the Spectrum 90, coupled with Inuktun's Versatrax 150, has seen a great deal of the Bureau of Reclamation's water system across the Western states.
The forefathers of the Bureau of Reclamation had the foresight to envision a system that could meet the West's water needs for decades to come. Jones's work, with the help of Inuktun's Spectrum 90 and Versatrax 150, are ensuring that future citizens of Western states are also provided with the gift of water.
Canadian-based Inuktun Services is an industry leading designer and manufacturer of modular, mobile robotic systems and system components for use in hazardous areas, confined spaces and underwater applications throughout the world. For more information, call 1-800-468-5886.