Divers help to improve water supply

By Sgt. Ann Venturato

LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — Divers from the 86th Dive Detachment took the plunge into the Tigris River on the morning of Sept. 6 to remove sediment from four intake valves at a nearby water treatment plant. The objective was to increase the water flow to the plant that provides water to LSA Anaconda and the surrounding communities. The intake valves get built up with sediment regularly and the pump station has had a hard time in the past keeping the intake valves free of sediment.

"Right now we know there is about 15 feet of sediment piled up over the intake valves," said Lt. Eric Marshall, 86th Dive Detachment dive officer.

Before entering the water to remove the sediment, the dive team assembled the dive and dredging equipment for the mission. The divers used the dredging equipment to create a vacuum to help suction the sediment away from the intake valves.

Members of the dive team positioned themselves in the safety boat to help relay information between the divers and other team members on shore.

By 8 a.m. the first diver was in the water and getting ready to remove sediment from the intake valves.

A guide rope was tied to a pipe to help guide the divers to the location of the intake valves.

On initial decent, the divers found that only one intake valve was partially visible while the others were covered with sediment from the river bottom.

"We have six days to complete the mission but hopefully we can finish in a couple of days," said Spc. Andy Weekley, 86th Dive Detachment diver.

The divers continued their dredging mission for three more days and were able to clear a lot of mud from the intake valves.

The dredging mission is only the first part of a three-part mission to improve the water quality for LSA Anaconda and the surrounding communities.

The second phase is the surveying and the third phase is the construction of intake valve screens, Marshall said.

The screening device will be put in place to help keep the sediment from the intake valve.

The mission started off with having the divers come out and get water samples from the river, Marshall said. The Corps of Engineers was looking to provide running water to all of LSA Anaconda from the pump station and they wanted to get the water samples to make sure there were no contaminants in the water. It was while taking the water samples that they noticed that three of the four intake valves were completely covered and needed to be dredged before a screening device is put in place, Marshall added.

So in the water the divers went to complete their first dredging mission here. Their primary mission is usually equipment and body recovery.

Although their dredging mission is done, Marshall said the divers still need one more day to take measurements of the intake valves to build the intake valve screens that will be the last pieces to put in place to protect the water supply.

Editor's Note: Sgt. Venturato is a member of the 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office at LSA Anaconda, Balad, Iraq.


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(LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq) - Spc. Andy Weekley, 86th Dive Detachment diver, checks out the water before getting set to dive down into the Tigris River to remove sediment from the four intake valves that go to a nearby water treatment plant.

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(LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq) - Spc. Jeff Johnson, a dive team member from the 86th Dive Detachment, assembles the equipment for the divers during a recent mission to clear sediment build-up from intake valves along the Tigris River enar here.