2023 – Chinchilla Weir Guard Valve Replacement – Innovative Engineering Solutions in Challenging Underwater Zero Visibility Conditions

Leonard Wiliem, Allan Petersingham, Richard Coe, Brody Gordon

The Chinchilla Weir Guard Valves Replacement Project is an example of innovative engineering in the face of challenging conditions. This project scope ensures the successful operation of Chinchilla Weir into the future. The project aimed to replace two old guard valves, and encountered significant challenges due to the zero-visibility underwater conditions and the poor condition of the face of the inlet structure. The newly installed bulkhead gate did not provide an adequate seal due to the poor condition of the inlet structure, resulting in water leakage and preventing the replacement of the guard valves. The project team overcame this obstacle using technologies such as underwater 3D scanning and digital 3D modelling and diver observations. The team conducted tests to identify suitable materials and safe installation methods, leading to the successful installation of a stainless-steel plate against the face of the concrete inlet structure. The project’s success can be attributed to sound communication, safety conversations and reviews, the use of new technologies and experiments and the engagement of a suitably qualified dive team.

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