Decontamination of Office Building Shows Scabbling to be Effective

Disaster struck ten years ago, when a two year old, 18-story office building in the northeastern United States experienced a fire. PCBs escaped from a transformer in the mechanical room and spread throughout the entire building.

The environmental service coordinator for the cleanup responded and decontamination began. Most of the building was decontaminated using conventional techniques. However, the mechanical room, the most contaminated area of the building, had been left alone since the accident and reserved as the last area to be cleaned.

When the mechanical room was finally approached for decontamination, the first option to cleaning began with solvent wiping of surfaces. The use of solvents resulted in spreading of contamination in some areas and insufficient decontamination of surfaces in other areas. Demolition of some walls and some flooring was then attempted, but the conventional methods used created a large amount of waste and therefore weren’t used extensively.

Finally, Pentek’s dustless scabbling equipment was employed . Both the SQUIRREL®-III and the Corner-Cutter® were connected to the VAC-PAC® and used to clean the concrete floor and concrete block walls.

The MOOSE® was utilized to clean a larger area of the floor surface in a short amount of time. Approximately 4,000 square feet of flooring was scabbled to a 3/4th-inch depth using the remotely operated MOOSE®. Some hot spots where contamination levels were high required scabbling as much as three inches of concrete from the surface.

Decontamination operations have since been completed and the building has now been reoccupied. According to the environmental service coordinator, “the area under the transformer was the worst part as far as being contaminated but I would say that 99% of the area was completed the way we wanted it. I was impressed with the Pentek system and the way it worked. I particularly liked the ease of operating the equipment, especially the SQUIRREL®-III floor scabbler.”

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Reprinted from Pentek Ink, Vol 7

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