Case Studies in Environmental Remediation
A murder/suicide and hostage standoff resulted in the heavy contamination of all interior (and some exterior) surfaces of the home with teargas and biological waste. The teargas manufacturer, Defense Technology, was contacted and provided MSDS’s and fact sheets on cleanup protocols. Based on the information provided from Defense Technology and local law enforcement officials, a remediation plan was prepared (which was submitted for approval to an environmental consultant) and remediation was begun.
The biohazard cleanup included the cleaning of the garage and master bedroom of blood and human tissue. All waste was properly containerized in D.O.T. approved bags and boxes and then transported to, and disposed of at, a D.E.C. approved disposal site. All affected building surfaces (walls, ceiling and floor) in the master bedroom were then sealed with an antimicrobial encapsulant (Foster’s 40-20). This encapsulant sealed the visibly blood contaminated surfaces following the tear gas cleanup. Demolition of the room was not recommended prior to the encapsulation procedures due to the likely spread of tear gas into the building cavities.
Following the biohazard remediation, the teargas cleanup of the home was begun. The homes contents were cleaned to a level that would allow the reasonably safe handling of these items by inventorying representatives.
All carpets and porous window treatments were disposed of. The home was then repeatedly cleaned to remove the teargas residue using HEPA vacuums and detergent. All accessible flexible fiberglass lined ductwork was disposed of. The HVAC system was thoroughly cleaned and all metal ductwork was encapsulated. Following fine cleaning, heavily teargas stained areas of drywall were removed. The master bedroom was demolished to the studs and encapsulated.
Residential Oil Spill
Our observations indicated that oil had leaked from an abandoned underground oil storage tank and had migrated below the foundation of the home. Floating oil was observed on the surface of the crawlspace. Our investigation included the drilling of approximately ten representative borings in the soil surrounding the home and periphery of the property. Using a magnetometer we located the abandoned tank under a concrete patio slab that had been later turned into a sunroom.
The scope of work included the removal of the concrete floor slab in the sunroom under full containment procedures to minimize the odor impact to the homeowners. This was followed by the remediation of impacted soils from beneath the slab to groundwater depth which was approximately six feet below grade as the home was on a canal on the Great South Bay of Long Island. The ultimate goal was to remove as much contaminated soil as possible (thereby reducing Insured’s possible liability of further contamination to groundwater and neighboring properties) and to gain closure of the N.Y.S.D.E.C. spill file.
Environmental technicians using a combination of hand labor and extraction hoses vacuumed the contaminated soil out from underneath the home using a High Vacuum Extraction Truck (vactor). The contaminated soil was removed off site to a N.Y.S.D.E.C. approved waste facility. Materials qualifying under the STARS Memo were transported to a facility with a Beneficial Use Determination Permit.
A PID was used during the excavation of the contaminated soils from beneath the foundation. All soil that registered greater then 15 parts per million (ppm) was removed unless it undermined the foundation. Once a favorable PID reading was achieved, a soil sample was taken and sent off site to approved laboratory for analysis. The sample was analyzed under the Stars Memo #2 EPA methods 8021 and 8270 and achieved clearance criteria. With approval of the caseworker from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that the soil samples clearance, we began the backfilling of clean materials into the excavation by hand. Every 6″ the soil was compacted using a vibratory compactor. Once an acceptable compaction level was achieved, a new concrete floor was poured and sealed with vapor barriers.
Chemical Factory Fire
A commercial heating vessel in a chemical factory resulted in the polymerization of a 55-gallon drum of Tripropylene Glycol Diacrylate which covered the building and contents with a very pungent and strong burnt plastic smell. We contacted the Director of Safety and Health at Sartomer Industries, the manufacturer of the product and developed a scope of work and remediation plan that included the following:
1. All work was performed during night time hours so as to not interfere with the manufacturing processes or office work.
2. Negative pressure air filtration and ventilation was achieved using several 2000 c.f.m. air filtration units installed throughout the building.
3. All porous contents of minimal value, such as cardboard boxes and empty fiber drums, were removed from the building and disposed of.
4. All porous building materials such as fiberglass ceiling insulation, flexible ductwork and ceiling tiles were removed.
5. All building surfaces and contents were cleaned with an appropriate detergent to help remove the odors.
6. At the end of each shift, ozone generators were operated to help break down odors and we vented the building each day before reoccupancy.
7. We then replaced all of the damaged building materials that were removed.
All cleaning materials and debris was placed in rolloff dumpsters and transported to a D.E.C. approved disposal site. Where necessary, personnel had all necessary and required New York State and Federal licensing for their respective duties on the remediation project including but not limited to Federal OSHA hazardous material remediation personnel training (40 hrs.).
Job Description: Lightning Strike, Fire and Water Damage Asbestos Containing Materials
A large quantity of asbestos containing materials were damaged from a lightning strike and the subsequent fire and water damage at this site. The affected asbestos containing materials included approximately 20,000 square feet of vinyl asbestos floor tiles (throughout many classrooms and hallways) and the gym floor, which has an asbestos backing and a 3/4 inch thick asbestos and cork vapor barrier below it. The removal of the floor, and especially the vapor barrier, were extremely labor intensive.
This emergency asbestos removal work was completed in 10 days which allowed the school to be repaired and reopened on time in September. This work is required under laws promulgated by the New York State Department of Labor and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which state that any work that may disturb asbestos containing materials must be performed as an abatement project, and is subject to all the applicable regulations of New York State Industrial Code Rule 56 and CFR Part 763, the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA).
The N.Y.S.D.O.L. Asbestos Control Program and the Environmental Protection Agency were notified of the asbestos removal project and all fees were paid. We covered all immovable objects with polyethylene plastic. All contents were cleaned and removed from the work areas. H.E.P.A. filtered air filtration units were set up to stop the asbestos fibers from entering uncontaminated portions of the building. Full personnel and waste decontamination units were erected in both the gym area and separately for the floor tile removal. Finally, all of the water damaged asbestos containing floor tile and gym flooring were removed. Each work area was detail cleaned in stages following removal of asbestos containing materials using H.E.P.A. filtered vacuums and wet wiping with a surfactant. All asbestos containing debris was double bagged in 6 mil polyethylene asbestos bags and transported to an N.Y.S.D.E.C. approved disposal site.
All workers had all necessary and required New York State licensing for their respective duties on this asbestos abatement project including but not limited to asbestos supervisor, asbestos handler, asbestos inspector and asbestos project designer.
Hazardous Materials Spill
Job Description: Wall Collapse Causes Spill of Hazardous Materials
A collapse of a basement foundation wall in a large hardware store caused a spill of mixed hazardous and regulated materials including acids, bases, petroleum products, paint products and thinners. All damaged products were removed from the basement and outdoor staging area, categorized, lab packed, drummed and disposed of as hazardous and regulated waste. This work was required under laws promulgated by the N.Y.S.D.E.C., specifically Title 12 and part 364. The N.Y.S.D.E.C. requires that a regulated waste spill be cleaned up or stabilized within two hours.
Following stabilization of the spill and removal of the contaminated materials, all debris was placed in D.O.T. approved containers and transported to a D.E.C. approved disposal site. All workers had all necessary and required New York State and Federal licensing for their respective duties on the remediation project including but not limited to Federal OSHA hazardous material remediation personnel training (40 hrs.)
Raccoon Waste Removal
The clean up of fire damage in a dentist office came to an abrupt halt when the local fire department discovered a significant mercury spill at the site. Storage cabinets, which had not been cleaned out in several years had collapsed into a fire damaged hallway and filling preparation room. In these cabinets were several vials of mercury which spilled into the fire damaged debris.
Negative pressure air filtration and ventilation was achieved using several 2000 c.f.m. air filtration units installed throughout the building. All contaminated debris was packaged in appropriate containers, removed from the building and transported to a D.E.C. approved disposal site. All cleanup personnel had all necessary and required New York State and Federal licensing for their respective duties on the remediation project including but not limited to Federal OSHA hazardous material remediation personnel training (40 hrs.).