Transformer Pad Remediation During Holiday Outage

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.

An industrial systems plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, needed to extract deeply embedded PCB contaminants from a concrete transformer pad. The transformers were stationed on a mezzanine shelf above the plant floor that comprised approximately 1,000 square feet (90 M2) of concrete with a 30 linear foot (9M) perimeter of curbing. PCB dialectic fluids had leaked from the transformers for decades, seeping into the porous strata of the concrete and darkly staining the floor. Testing samples indicated that, before a new protective flooring could be installed, an estimated average removal depth of 1/16-inch (1.6 mm) of contaminated concrete was necessary for elimination of the PCB hazard.

CRX Environmental Services, a Pittsburgh-based remediation contractor specializing in PCB removal and lead-based paint abatement, was contracted to scarify the surface with Pentek’s dustless decontamination and collection system.

CRX utilized a rental MOOSE® robotic scabbler, together with ancillary manual tools: SQUIRREL®-III floor scabblers, Corner-Cutter® needle guns, and Roto-Peen Scalers for the areas inaccessible to the MOOSE®, such as the concrete curbing. Waste was automatically collected by a VAC-PAC® Model 24—capable of supporting up to ten scabblers over 200 feet away—so it was no problem to place the waste collection unit on the plant floor and extend collection hoses to give remediation technicians full access to the work area located on the mezzanine above. Isolated scabbling was required to deal with “hot spots” and slab anomalies that were detected during decontamination activities.

The proven durability of the Pentek equipment, which over the years has achieved a 99+ percent availability factor, provided the ability to accomplish the PCB decontamination during one long shift scheduled over the annual Christmas outage. The floor was sampled immediately following the remediation effort to ascertain acceptable residual concentrations of contamination. CRX then coordinated a floor overlay of Silikal methylmethacrylate-based industrial flooring to permanently encapsulate the mezzanine.

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

Reprinted from Pentek Ink, Vol 11

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