Pentek Lead Abatement System Ideal for Consolidated Edison

Feature image by Tim1337, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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.

“With no escaped lead, my costs for compliance are negligible – I pass those savings on to the owner.”

To reduce the additional costs of erecting and maintaining full containment without jeopardizing health and safety criteria, Con Ed incorporated a practical solution to remove their aging lead-based paint. Nelson Maintenance Services, Inc. of Yonkers, NY bid the project incorporating Pentek’s lead abatement system. Nelson Maintenance assured Con Ed airborne lead emissions would approach zero, in compliance with all federal and state lead exposure regulations. Upon review of the bids, Nelson Maintenance was awarded the contract for lead removal on stack #50. Ramon Luis, Nelson Maintenance’s project manager estimated the stack had approximately 7,000 square feet of steel.

Con Ed's 125-foot-high steam dispersion stack in Astoria, New York

Con Ed’s 125-foot-high steam dispersion stack in Astoria, New York

“Even with the (New York) city’s labor costs, the Pentek system provides a real competitive advantage,” claimed Umberto Luis, executive vice-president of Nelson Maintenance. “If I were to incorporate abrasive blasting with full containment, my bids would be two to three times higher. Pentek’s system reduces the high costs of worker and environmental protection associated with abrasive blasting by capturing the lead at the point of generation. With no escaped lead, my costs for compliance are negligible—I pass those savings on to the owner.”

At the Astoria Power Generating Plant, Nelson Maintenance’s crew positioned the VAC-PAC® on the roof of the power generating building. Compressed air was supplied from an airline hose connected to the compressor 50 feet down at street level. The vacuum hoses extended as far as 200 feet away, eliminating the need for workers to transport individual, conventional HEPA vacuums to support the shrouded power tools. One retractable, elevated platform was incorporated to provide access to the 18-foot diameter of the stack’s exterior and no containment structure was erected.

As Nelson Maintenance’s crew of three removed the lead-based paint, they immediately followed along with new coatings. The coating specifications called for a Rust Barrier #55 VOC Compliant primer and a Polyon II 3900 Series Topcoat supplied by Con Lux.

The contract allowed for 35 days to complete the project: Nelson Maintenance completed all work within 21 days, including mobilization, removal, painting, and demobilization. During abatement, an independent testing lab reviewed the project for worker and environmental safety. All airborne monitoring results were well below OSHA’s action level of 30 µg/m³ on an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA), and ground lead samples near the site did not show any increase above background levels.

Editor’s Note: It is interesting to note that these and other benefits, which continue to accrue to Con Ed and the New York public it serves, are due in large measure to the foresight of Con Ed’s own R&D Department. In the late 1980s, technology development and demonstration work for the VAC-PAC® and Corner-Cutters® used on this project was jointly funded by Con Ed, the Electric Power Research

Institute (EPRI), and Pentek. The research effort was aimed at finding cleaner, safer, and more effective methods to remove radiologically contaminated protective coatings at the company ‘s Indian Point Station, a 975MW nuclear power plant located in Westchester County. Pentek technology is now routinely employed at Indian Point as part of its ongoing coatings maintenance program. it is also in use on various public housing, subway, airport, and highway rehabilitation projects located throughout New York City and the metropolitan area.

For more information please email us, see our contact page or visit our vacuum tool and robotics product pages.

Reprinted from Pentek Ink, Vol 10

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