Alcoa Pier Inspection

Ballard provided personnel composed of a four-person surface supplied diving crew to team with the owner’s engineer to provide a full structural inspection and analysis of the Alcoa Pier pilings and pierhead.

Scope of Work
Multi-season repair work which consisted of the following types of repairs: timber pierhead, epoxy jacket, concrete, and piling. These repairs were recommended by the experienced dive crew Ballard mobilized on-site.

  • Underwater Inspection
    The inspection method followed the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and National Highway Institute’s (NHI) procedures for Level I and Level II inspections. Level I is a surface-to-mudline visual inspection of 100% of all pier piles. The Level II procedure required that marine growth be removed on approximately 10% of the visually inspected piles, or roughly one in every ten piles. The procedure further required that removal occurs at three distinct bands for one foot at each band. The bands are located near the mudline, at mid-depth, and near Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW). Bracing and pipes located below water level were also inspected by the divers.
  • Above Water Inspection
    Level I above water inspection provided a visual inspection of all pier members from the water surface to the top of the deck, including piling, bracing, pile caps, stringers, decking, pipes, and pipe supports. Suspected damage areas were sounded with a hammer.

Innovative Solutions
Ballard handled both the inspection portion as well as the numerous repairs deemed necessary by the inspection crew. The repairs were handled throughout the years, after project execution, to avoid the harsher seasonal weather months. Working underneath the pier, both above and below the water’s surface, required numerous workarounds to protect Ballard crews, as well as efficiently execute the inspection and necessary repairs. Safety protocols and a United States Coast Guard’s (USCG) approved dive platform was utilized to overcome the tight regions underneath the pier.

These necessary repairs ensured the structural integrity of the pier for years to come and brought ease of mind to the owners. In addition, with an after-repair inspection, the owners have an established baseline to determine if future repairs are needed.

Client: Moffat & Nichol
Location: Ferndale, WA
Diver Depth: 40ft


• Shallow Water Diving
• Surface Supplied Air Diving
• Underwater Inspection
• Underwater Concrete Pours
• Underwater Cutting/Welding