EPA relies on many techniques to support our ocean and coastal protection programs. Scuba divers remain an important part of the team responsible for keeping our water clean and safe. Each year, a handful of EPA’s regional and program office staff attend an intensive one-week training program and certification with the hope of becoming EPA’s newest class of divers.
What makes EPA’s dive teams unique? In addition to certifications including Scientific Diver, Divemaster and other advanced ratings, EPA divers learn to dive in polluted, and often hazardous, conditions. Divers provide scientific polluted water diving services through inspections, sampling, surveys and long-term monitoring. The dive teams are also equipped with special equipment such as underwater cameras to document their findings, underwater mapping devices, sophisticated ocean diver communications and have access to remote operated vehicles (ROV). These tools aid the dive teams as the support EPA programs, for example: Superfund, Clean Water Act work and partnerships with other federal agencies and state governments.
In 2006, the Diver Training Program was awarded an Agency bronze medal for“developing and conducting an exemplary Diver Training Program that certified over 500 divers who recorded over 30,000 dives with no serious injuries.”
Jed Campbell is a Dive Instructor within EPA’s Gulf Ecology Division at the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory.