Expeditioners at Mawson cleaned the water tanks and did some mechanical maintenance on the main power house.

Cleaning the Mawson water tanks

One of the major maintenance tasks for the summer has been the cleaning of the water tanks. There are three tanks in the tankhouse, with a collective capacity of about 280,000 litres. The tanks need to be periodically drained, cleaned and inspected for structural integrity. Although primarily a plumber’s task, most of the building trades group is involved at some stage either with putting up scaffolding, rigging safety equipment or acting as observer for those in the tanks.

Erecting the scaffold provided a bit of a challenge for the chippies with narrow spaces, pipework, pumps and electrical services to negotiate but this was necessary to provide a safe working platform for those entering and exiting through the roof of the tanks.

Unfortunately for plumbers Ewan, Craig and Glenn, they had the unenviable job of doing the actual cleaning. Kitted out with coveralls, harnesses, respirators, hard hats, gloves, goggles and gumboots, the cleaning of the tanks falls to them and requires confined space entry training.

After the walls and tie rods are washed down with a high pressure spray, the buildup of sediment and sludge is drained from the bottom and the tank is refilled with fresh water from the tarn behind the tankhouse.

Main power house maintenance

The mechanical team of Mawson were off to work this week in the Main powerhouse to rebuild one of the powerhouse’s engines. With a busy summer works program in full swing and the end of the summer rapidly approaching, this job is vitally important to ensure a reliable power source to station.