When Consolidated Edison Company of New York released job specifications for contractor bidding on the lead removal from their 125 foot-high steam dispersion stacks at the 1551 megawatt Astoria Power Generating Station, it was pointedly clear no lead would be released into the air during the project. If abrasive blasting were chosen for surface preparation, state of-the-art full containment would have to be used, complete with air-tight seals, ventilation systems, entrance and exit air locks, and impermeable containment material to ensure minimal discharge on the power generating plant below the stack. The contractor would also be required to meet all OSHA requirements, such as medical surveillance, hygiene facilities, separate eating areas, and personal protective equipment if lead exposure levels exceeded 30 µg/m³.
Housing Authorities Adopt Pentek Technology
Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) are taking charge of their lead-based paint problems, and working to determine how they can best comply with mandates from Congress and HUD to remove lead from the housing units they manage. The best managed Authorities begin with a thorough investigation of the different methods of lead abatement currently available. Usually, several techniques are demonstrated before choosing the most effective method, including caustic pastes, abrasive blasting and power tool cleaning.
In case after case, PHAs who have compared all the available methods have selected Pentek’s dustless power tools as the best alternative, and have included a system in their de-leading specifications. Pentek’s method of dustless decontamination has now been used to abate more than 1,000 housing units in PHAs throughout the country. Officials from the PHAs and the contractors performing their lead abatement work report Pentek’s tools to be highly effective in removing lead-based paint and controlling the lead dust hazard.
Robotics Decontamination Keeps Operators Clear of Danger
During the March 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Station Unit 2 near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, significant quantities of contaminated water were discharged to the Reactor Building and the Auxiliary and Fuel-Handling Building. This subjected the concrete floors and walls to various concentrations of contaminants.
Most of the floors and wall areas were protected by special epoxy coatings. On examination, contamination appeared to have migrated into the coatings and, to some extent, into the concrete substrate. In areas where the concrete was unpainted or the protective coatings failed, the penetration of contamination into the concrete was significant.
On-site remediation operations are challenging in a fully active facility. Decontamination activities have to be efficiently completed within the narrow time window allotted by temporary and infrequent outages. Remediation specialists must not only decon facilities without disturbing existing operations, or background cleanliness levels, but they must get out quickly as well, without interrupting resumed plant functioning.
At Kwajalein Atoll, in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific, the US Army decided to undertake a major effort to remove PCB contamination from the island. As part of that effort, PCB contaminated equipment was removed from service and placed in a warehouse until proper disposal could be arranged. But after only several months of storage, PCB fluid from the equipment had leaked and was detected on the concrete floor of the facility.
Advanced Sciences, Inc., the environmental service coordinator for the cleanup, determined that solvent cleaning would present both safety and logistics problems for the island and would be of questionable effectiveness. The job had to be completed right the first time.