I had my first full day as a solo welding inspector today. I had to inspect patches applied to the interior of a 84 inch pipe that is part of the Brightwater Project. ( Yes only politicians could name a sewage pumping system "Brightwater")
To grasp the scale of today's outing there is math required.
I had to inspect from Pipe 901 to Pipe 1085. So simple math means I inspected 184 pipe sections. The pipe at the far end is Pipe 1142. So the full run is 241 pipe lengths.
Each pipe is 84 inches (7 feet) in diameter, and 60 feet long. So the full run of the pipe is 14,460 feet or 2.73 miles I started in Bothel, at the West end of the pipe, 120 feet underground, and spent 8 hours walking uphill towards Woodinville. I had 3 ports to inspect every 40 feet. They welded patches over ports in the pipe used to inject grout around the pipes.
By the time I got to pipe 1085 I had caught up to the welders and it was simpler to walk to the far end than to backtrack.
While walking out I had to stop myself from doing math. I would get to pipe 1102 and think " Great only 40 pipes to go". and then in the back of head a little voice would say "That is still2,400 feet". Ugh!
As you approach the East end of the pipe you see daylight and your hopes rise...until you realize you have to climb 60 feet of scaffolding to get out.
I was in that pipe for 8 straight hours with no break. Luckily I brought some granola bars and can hold my bladder.
I will probably not work Friday to rest my legs, but they are planning to send me to Boeing in Everett Saturday and Sunday for some more inspections. Weekends pay time-and-a-half.
I guess I am an official inspector now. I still can't do certain inspections until I get my Special Inspectors Card from WABO, and I have to get my 1st aid/CPR card and OSHA 10 cards before I can go into the Seattle Tunnel Project.
An exhausting day, but it felt good to do something well. The Project manager from King County was quite happy with me so they want me back next Thursday, and the Wednesday after that for follow up inspections.