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Manure and food waste digester fatality - Stockton, Illinois

Discussion in 'Accidents & Incidents' started by DandyDon, Jun 17, 2021.

  1. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    50,813
    5,749
    Lots of unknowns here, but it sounds like he was attempting work beyond his equipment and abilites.

    “For whatever reason, he relayed to her through radio communications that he was taking his helmet off. So when she pulled the rope up, the helmet came up.”

    Quad Cities contractor dies in digester dive
     
  2. John the Pom

    John the Pom Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    108
    159
    Three clear acute hazards:
    • hyperthermia due to the 50 C liquid,
    • no breathable atmosphere inside the tank, and
    • "he was unable to return to the top of the liquid in the tank" - so possibly a buoyancy issue, maybe caused by the layer of foam mentioned later in the article.
    Human defence against high environmental temperatures is basically to sweat and cool by evaporation. In a dry suit, this doesn't work. Also, diving in liquids less dense than water (e.g. oil or foam) mean that it may not be possible to float to the surface, even with buoyancy devices inflated and weights dumped.

    Then there is the risk from the contaminated liquid, but that would make you sick following the dive,

    The part about removing his helmet I can't understand, as there wouldn't be a breathable atmosphere in the tank, and it doesn't make sense if he couldn't surface.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  3. OTF

    OTF Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: scubaboard
    603
    805
    That sounds incredibly horrific - especially without proper contaminated water gear. Holy crap. (edit: no pun intended.)

    The part about removing his helmet, a few thoughts:
    - Early reporting is often full of confused information and miscommunications so who knows what really happened
    - Maybe he was diving a helmet or FFM which had a problem and he tried to switch to a normal regulator / bailout bottle?
    - Maybe he was disoriented
    - Maybe the helmet was entangled and he thought he could dislodge it by removing it for a minute?
     
  4. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    31,630
    21,069
    The other confusion for me . . .was the rope tied to his helmet?
     
    BlueTrin likes this.
  5. BlueTrin

    BlueTrin ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: London
    1,746
    866
    Yea I don’t understand why you would do this? Is that a standard in some configurations?
     
  6. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    31,630
    21,069
    I really don't think so
     
    BlueTrin likes this.
  7. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    50,813
    5,749
    Based on the inital story, it would seem so.
    I wouldn't know how standard it might be, but if the diver wears a full helmet with voice communication to the tender, then the comm-line would be attached to the safety rope and air supply hose at least until they are close to the diver. Having them remain together might have been a shortcut or it might have been designed that way to ensure the comm-line did not get tangled or pulled loose. The big question to me is why would he remove his helmet before a full, safe escape?
     
    BlueTrin and chillyinCanada like this.
  8. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    31,630
    21,069
    It makes a bit more sense if the "rope" becomes the "comm line".
     
    BlueTrin likes this.
  9. Shasta_man

    Shasta_man Contributor

    2,650
    734
    Wow. I speculate he must have figured he was Jack of all trades including some diving so just go fix that too. I coincidentally just saw a Modern Marvels episode about one of these tanks for episode about dealing with stink. The tank was massive and fed by an incredible amount of animal waste produced daily. I think the tank I saw was 20 feet deep.

    I dont know how you could see anything or orient where you are.

    I would have to think that 100000 gallons of water meant the original contents were now all around the outside.

    I also used to live in 3 of the Quad cities including on the Mississippi River. With the currents and that in the river, it would be challenging just to do the river work he did.
     
  10. John the Pom

    John the Pom Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    108
    159
    This must have been a huge tank. The text says "a million-gallon anaerobic digester". I've no feeling for the approximate dimensions, but if that's correct, the thing could have been 40 or 50 feet deep.

    Even though he sounds like a very experienced commercial diver, none of that would have prepared him for diving somewhere like this. Immersed in 50C water in a sealed dry suit, I suspect he would have succumbed to heat stroke fairly quickly.
     
    rjack321, Hatul and BlueTrin like this.

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