Underwater Solutions: Promising the Safety and Compliance of Water Infrastructure
David M. Cornish, President The annual Infrastructure Week has become a “Groundhog Day,” in the context of our country’s aging water infrastructure. Despite the ever-increasing demand for water, much of the collection, treatment, and distribution infrastructure has fallen into an unacceptable state of disrepair due to decades of misdirected investments and unsystematic maintenance. The nation’s capital provides the best example of a city in dire need of infrastructure renovation or overhaul. Significant portions of the water distribution system in Washington, D.C., date back to the early 1900s, and the median age of a water pipe is over 80 years. As a result of the water infrastructure’s age and lack of adequate maintenance, Washington, D.C. now witnesses over 500 water-main breaks per year—or more than one every day.
According to reports, more regions in the U.S. contend with potential water shortage as 20 percent of the treated water is lost due to leakage. Simultaneously, there are several concerns over deteriorating water quality. Much of the country’s reservoirs and distribution pipes are susceptible to lead contamination and bacterial growth that causes cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, and developmental delays in children. Needless to say, if left unattended, access to clean water would soon become far less reliable, jeopardizing both public health and economic growth. This highlights the significance of adopting a streamlined approach to water infrastructure maintenance and asset management operations, not only to meet today’s needs but also for future generations.
Enter Underwater Solutions.
Founded in 1992, Underwater Solutions is a water infrastructure specialist that offers exceptional services in the field of water management. The company has been providing in-service compliance inspections and essential maintenance of raw, partially treated, and finished water infrastructure.
Having its business operations built around the notion of customer success, Underwater Solutions took a strategic turn towards reinventing and restructuring its technologies and capabilities to align well with the changing tides. By doing so, the company aims at transcending the conventional “pen and paper” model of inspecting, maintaining compliance, upgrading, and rehabilitating infrastructure into the 21st century. Today, they serve as a leader in the water infrastructure space with a team of certified inspection divers who hold in-depth expertise in the water process and the infrastructure associated with each process.
Foraying into the World of Automation
“The key to the future of infrastructure asset management is automation; and that’s our primary goal at Underwater Solutions,” says David M. Cornish, the President of the company. "We specialize in automating the processes behind maintaining our country’s water infrastructure with first-of its-kind water infrastructure asset management platform.
The development of Underwater Solutions’ state of-the-art USAM platform is powered by the company’s unrivaled in-service compliance inspection capabilities and their hands-on industry experience. Underwater Solutions leverages structure-specific, customized work orders to perform clients’ routine compliance inspections.
Their assessment drives are designed to gather over 15,000 metadata points per structure through a comprehensive set of tests. For example, Underwater Solutions’ inspection divers use ultrasonic thickness gauges to perform non-destructive tests on steel structures for measuring various parameters that determine their health and lifespan.
They evaluate the thickness by conducting similar tests on protective coatings using dry film thickness gauges. When it comes to water quality, experts at Underwater Solutions check for thermal stratification and chemical stratification by measuring water temperatures and chlorine residual levels.
All these pieces of information gathered during in-service compliance inspections are consolidated into a single automated inspection report quickly and then fed into the USAM platform. “Clients can access this integrated report to view and manage all data, asset attributes, live mapping of structures, historical records, and engineering documents,” says Cornish. The USAM platform cross-references inspection data with manufacturer specifications and regulations put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and other state boards to estimate deficiencies and non compliance. Based on these findings, it provides meaningful recommendations and corrective action plans to help clients reinforce their infrastructure while staying compliant with all federal and state regulations. All recommended costs for upgrades or repairs are mapped out based on the priority of the deficiencies.
Scouting New Opportunities
In addition to its automated USAM platform, Underwater Solutions is recognized for its ability to offer products and services outlined in the recommendations by leveraging its new operations and maintenance division. The company excels in providing a wide range of system support and maintenance services from the structural, sanitary, security, safety, and cosmetic standpoint of the infrastructure. Underwater Solutions’ service portfolio comprises storage tank inspection and washouts, system repairs, piping retrofits, sandblasting and re-lining, treatment system modifications, engineering, electrical, plumbing, well drilling, metering, controls, and even total system replacements.
Clients can access this integrated report to view and manage all data, asset attributes, live mapping of structures, historical records, and engineering documents
Unlike a typical infrastructure management firm, Underwater Solutions ensures that each Public Water System (PWS) follows state regulations and maintains safe drinking water.
The company also provides assistance for PWS in any DEP compliance issues. To take water management to the next level, Underwater Solutions has partnered with Panton McLeod, a proprietary provider of Pantonite PM88 NSF60- approved chemical wash services. Through this collaboration, the company aims to provide an additional layer of protection to tanks and other structures by removing biofilms and staining from wall surfaces through the chemical wash.
Underwater Solutions is also teaming up with Kasco Marine to offer free installation of Kasco Certisafe active mixers to address many water quality issues due to disinfection by products, chlorine/chloramine residuals, ice cap formation, thermal/chemical stratification, and nitrification. This will essentially help clients save thousands of dollars as it is performed during other routine maintenance to water storage facilities.
Inspired and Innovative
Underwater Solutions serves a wide range of clients—from small water systems with less than 30,000 gallons a day to state, federal, and municipal water systems—across different states, including Massachusetts, Florida, and New York. Most clients appreciate the company’s dedication to ensuring transparency in the entire process cycle. From work orders to inception data to recommendations, the USAM platform allows clients to have 24/7 access to all information on a single pane of glass. It enables them to easily understand the current state of their infrastructure, plan their maintenance efficiently, and perform those operations cost-effectively.
The key to the future of infrastructure asset management is automation; and that’s our primary goal at Underwater Solutions
“At Underwater Solutions, we keep the safety of our clients and team upfront. As such, USAM platform has a set of health and safety features integrated into it,” says Cornish. This feature ensures worksite safety as it mandates on-site personnel to undergo a pre-built, work order-specific safety assessment before starting the project. If the health condition of an employee or any environmental factor fails to align with the requirements, the USAM platform aborts the operation until it’s fixed. For example, any operations at a structure over four feet tall require fall prevention methods and techniques as mandated by OSHA. In such situations, on-site personnel must have a fall prevention form and a harness inspection form completed to perform the operations.
Building a Secure and Compliant Infrastructure
Identifying that automation remains the cornerstone for optimizing infrastructure management, Underwater Solutions continues to scale the USAM platform’s features and functionalities to offer a completely automated experience to clients. The innovation lab at Underwater Solutions is constantly improving on its solution’s value proposition to make it compatible for managing other infrastructure assets.
“We always strive to understand the dynamic marketplace and bring innovative solutions to the table to make our country’s water infrastructure safe and compliant. This way, we aim to contribute to our people’s well-being and our nation’s economic growth,” concludes Cornish.
Description Underwater Solutions is a water infrastructure specialist that offers exceptional services in the field of water management. The company has been providing in-service compliance inspections and essential maintenance of raw, partially treated, and finished water infrastructure. It specializes in automating the processes behind maintaining our country’s water infrastructure with first-of-its-kind water infrastructure asset management platform. In addition to its automated USAM platform, Underwater Solutions is recognized for its ability to offer products and services outlined in the recommendations by leveraging its new operations and maintenance division.
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