Margaritzen Reservoir: Wintry Diving Operation at 2,000 Meters

2/13/2015Kaprun/Heiligenblut

Positive result after routine control of all important facility parts

Against the backdrop of Austria's highest mountain, the Großglockner, in the last few days VERBUND staff have been checking the barrages at the Margaritzen reservoir. As important parts of the dam walls lie beneath the surface of the water all year round, the wintry conditions of the past days at 2,000 metres above sea level meant that special divers and diving robots were deployed. The positive result of this inspection, which is carried out every 10 years: all facility parts are in proper condition and safety continues to be fully guaranteed.

Security has the highest priority at VERBUND reservoirs. Countless measuring devices and continuous monitoring make them Austria's best guarded constructions. At the Margaritzen reservoir, which is part of the Kaprun power plant group, every 10 years both the aboveground constructions as well as the facility parts that are located below the water undergo a comprehensive visual control.

Clear as glass but cold as ice

The inspection work takes place in the winter, as the clear water provides optimal visibility. The cold water, the work performed under the ice cover and the high altitude make this task a great challenge even for professional divers. To prepare for the work, almost 3 tonnes of equipment were flown to the Margaritzen reservoir at the start of the week. After a hole had been drilled into the 50-cm thick ice cover, the divers could begin their work.

In addition to the cement, the bottom outlet and rakes were also closely inspected. These plant components have been underwater since the construction of the reservoir in the 1950s and are still in very good condition. The proper functioning of the bottom outlets as important safety devices (comparable to a safety valve) is thus fully safeguarded.

It is also of particular significance for VERBUND that the dives once again confirmed the effectiveness of the rubble transfer from the Margaritzen reservoir into the Wasserfallboden storage lake in the Kaprun valley. The intakes of the bottom outlets were free of any material, meaning that if the bottom outlets were to be opened, no pollution of the bodies of water below is to be expected.