ROV Life: An Inside & Underwater Look at Sunday River
One Good Turn Deserves Another
Sunday River has among the best snowmaking operations in the country—the fruits of which Gould students have enjoyed for decades. So it was a great day when the school got a chance last week to help out the resort in return.
The resort uses a very large, 48-inch diameter pipe to carry water from the Sunday River to the Snowflake Factory at the base of Barker Mountain. These pipes require routine inspection to ensure that flow remains unhindered. In the warmer months, a diver would swim up the pipe to inspect, but this solution, while possible, is much more difficult when winter arrives.
The Submersible ROV Meets Snowmaking
Steve Boulanger, VP of Mountain Operations, Peter Roberts (PE), and Doug Fichera (Director of Snow Surfaces) led the project. They had heard about Gould’s submersible ROV program and reached out to Head of School Tao Smith.
“This was a fantastic opportunity for Sunday River to work with Gould on this pipe inspection,” said Boulanger. “We were able to evaluate the condition of the various pipes at the Sunday River snowmaking pond, which will aid us in planning for future snowmaking improvements as we move toward increasing our capacity and efficiency.”
Gould was already on break, but IDEAS Center Director Paul Haberstroh, Director of Buildings and Grounds Jerry Bernier, and two-day students involved with the Aquatic Research & Exploration program in the fall—Dylan Greenberg ’21 and Eva Stasinos ’23— were able to help out. They piloted their Blue Robotics ROV (an anonymous donation from a parent) deep inside the intake pipes to make a thorough inspection. Although they had used the ROV to locate intake pipes in Sebago Lake last summer, this was their first time operating the submersible inside a pipe and under the ice.
“Dylan and Eva proved to be very skilled operators of this submersible robotic camera,” said Boulanger, “and made negotiating the pond and pipes look easy. Dylan did not seem phased by the ice covering the pond and the challenges it presented. I look forward to working with them again in the future.”
“The video recording came out great!” Boulanger said. “It was a pleasure to work with Paul, Jerry, and the students. What an amazing program Gould has going on over there!”
“This was a great applied learning experience for our students,” said Smith, “and a great example of the partnership between our two organizations.”
“I love the synergy that Sunday River and Gould share,” agreed Sunday River General Manager Brian Heon.
A video clip from the pipe inspection at Sunday River. The ROV also inspected the other pipes, including one that was under the ice. This was a first time for inspecting pipes from the inside, and the first time operating under ice!
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