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Drake Chemical

Fact Sheet: November 1998, Issue #15

Growing Pile of Clean Soil Demonstrates Drake Progress

As production moved along steadily over the past five months, the Drake Cleanup Team has been able to announce a significant new milestone every few weeks. The latest milestone is the successful treatment and testing of 60 percent of the Site soils as of Oct. 22. This success is visibly demonstrated by the once massive pile of contaminated soil being replaced by the growing hill of clean soil toward the south end of the Site.

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A soaring pile of clean soil is being stockpiled at the southern end of the Site (lower left in the photo).  When the pile is shaped according to the final grading plan, the mound will rise only about 40 feet at its highest point.  The photo was taken in late September.

During the month of October, the Team successfully treated more than 25,000 tons of soil. That means every day more than 40 tractor-trailer loads of soil were cleaned and returned to the Site.

Regular Maintenance

Routine maintenance continues, but is commonly handled with minimal disruption to production. The format for performing routine maintenance has improved incinerator availability the measure of time during which soil is fed into the machine substantially beyond that projected. As a result of this performance, the Team recovered the time lost replacing the refractory in April.

Not content with these gains, the Team saw the possibility of further improvement through modifications that could extend the life of feed screws. Feed screws are subjected to tremendous wearing forces and need periodic replacement. Recent improvements to the Drake feed screws successfully extended the useful life of a set of screws by about 50 percent and cut the amount of time the plant has to be idle for screw replacement.

The Team has been fortunate in recent weeks that the number of drums and partial drums recovered during excavation has been relatively low. However the Team perfected its procedures for drum management earlier in the project (see the July issue of the Drake Update) so that even the unexpected discovery of a large number of drums will be handled efficiently.

Staffing Adjusted

Earlier in the project, unexpected amounts of debris (lumber, brick, rock and metal) exceeded the then-current debris handling system and staffing level. The staffing level was increased and the debris management system was modified. With these changes in place, the accumulated backlog of debris was successfully processed. Debris is now handled on a routine basis through the prompt recognition of an emerging problem and the quick application of an effective solution.

Air monitoring continues both at the site perimeter and at the four stations within the local community in order to ensure that the project is operating safely. Along the Site perimeter, air is monitored for volatile organic compounds to confirm that project emission controls are working effectively. Should real time tests indicate that airborne compounds exceed ten percent of OSHA's safety limit, the Team would immediately take steps to locate and control emission sources. With two-thirds of the Drake excavation completed, site operations have never caused this strict limit to be exceeded. Within the community, air samples are collected every six days to make certain that there is no harmful Beta- naphthylamine or any of several other compounds being released from the Drake Site.

OHM Manager Describes Demobilization Plans

This month the Drake Cleanup Team announced that 60 percent of the contaminated soil at the Site had been successfully cleaned, tested and placed back on the property carefully separated from the soil that is still awaiting cleaning. With production continuing steadily toward completion of soil treatment some time around May 1999, OHM's project manager F.J. "Rick" Santucci paused to describe plans for demobilizing the incinerator. Demobilization is the process of dismantling and removing equipment when cleanup is complete.

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Drake project manager Rick Santucci leads a discussion during a recent safety meeting at the beginning of a work shift, shich OHM requires all of its employees to attend. At these meetings, workers discuss workplace safety.   Under the guidance of a fellow worker, they review safety observations from their previous shift. In addition, they review and discuss any special considerations for the coming shift.

The Drake incinerator is the property of OHM Remediation Services Corp., the contractor who is performing the soil cleanup at Drake. While OHM remains hopeful, according to Santucci, that the incinerator will be needed soon at another cleanup project, current plans call for placing the Drake plant into storage at one of OHM's facilities in the eastern U.S.

Plant Built on Clean Base

Santucci called to mind that the incinerator was built on a base of clean rock. The original contaminated soil was excavated and placed on the storage pile that rose above the Drake plant for the past several years. Then clean rock and gravel were trucked in to make a clean base for the plant.

When the last of the contaminated soil is processed through the incinerator and is cleared for backfilling, the large, white temporary building used for feed preparation will be taken down. The feed preparation building's skin a coated fabric will be shipped to a licensed hazardous waste disposal facility as it is not considered practical to reuse the fabric with as much wear as it received. One smaller temporary building, located in the contaminated zone and used for debris separation, will be dismantled in late winter or early spring. The building's framework will be decontaminated and prepared for shipment to OHM's storage facility. The third temporary building, the wastewater treatment plant, will continue in operation until decontamination work at the site is substantially completed.

Rigger will dismantle plant

OHM will retain the services of a rigging contractor to augment it own crew in dismantling the plant. Santucci anticipates that several large cranes will be used for this work. Refractory lining will be stripped from the kiln and will be properly disposed. The main sections of the incinerator will come apart in truck-load-size pieces. Cranes will lower the segments to the ground and place them on flatbed trucks for shipment to storage. Between 100 and 200 truck loads will be needed to haul the dismantled incinerator plant to its new location.

Dismantling the plant, including the decontamination and testing of its various components, is expected to take about four to six months.

As the structures begin to come down, regrading will begin on the pile of clean soil to the south of the plant. The shape and contour of the dirt mound will be formed in accordance with the final grading plan that was described in the October issue of the Drake Update. Topsoil will be brought in to cover the remaining dirt mound, and vegetation will be planted.

As work progresses, worker shift schedules will vary to accommodate the varying workloads, and some of the workers will begin transferring to other remediation projects where their specialized skills are needed.

Meanwhile, work in the administrative support areas the areas just to the north and west of the main cleanup work will include disconnecting and moving out the trailers that served as offices. Before leaving Lock Haven, OHM will repave Myrtle Street and will restore the right-of-way along Myrtle.

A Cold Gas Ensures a Hot Flame

Efficient treatment of the soil at the Drake Site depends, in large part, on having sufficient heat in the incinerator kiln to convert organic compounds into gases. In developing its proprietary design for the Drake kiln, OHM engineers determined that they could best ensure efficient and effective thermal treatment if they mixed pure oxygen with the natural gas in the burners used to heat the kiln. OHM turned to Praxair Inc., a subcontractor specializing in supplying gases, to provide the needed oxygen.

Praxair tank truckFour large, white tanks, visible at the north end of the Drake Site, hold liquid oxygen for use in the kiln. Each day, three or four Praxair tank trucks deliver liquid oxygen at 297 degrees below zero or colder to the Drake Site, where it is pumped into the storage tanks.

In the photo above (view large picture), a delivery truck is connected to the liquid oxygen storage tanks. Before the oxygen can be used in the burners, however, it must be allowed to warm up and vaporize into a gas. This is accomplished in the large grid work of tubes and fins, adjacent to the tanks. This radiator-like structure warms the liquid oxygen to vaporize it into gas. Similar to a refrigerator that isn't defrosted regularly, the fins quickly become encrusted with super-cooled frost as humid outside air condenses and forms frost on the structure. As seen in the photo below (view large picture), this cold frost frequently forms its own microclimate a shallow layer of early morning fog surrounding the tanks and vaporizer.

VaporizerIn addition, Praxair installed a gaseous oxygen generator plant, just east of the Drake Site across the railroad tracks, to provide some of the oxygen required by the kiln. This plant has reduced the number of liquid gas trucks needed to deliver liquid oxygen each day.

Drake Team Trains Local Responders

Emergency Responders trainingEvery worker at a hazardous waste site must return to the classroom each year for an eight-hour refresher course. In addition to providing this training for its own workers, the Drake Cleanup Team has been training local fire, ambulance and hazardous-materials response team members. (view large picture)

In late October, emergency responders from Lock Haven, Clinton County, Jersey Shore and several other local communities joined Drake Team workers for their annual refresher course. David Mummert, OHM's director of health and safety, conducted this class. Mummert is a certified industrial hygienist.

The refresher class reviews such topics as hazardous-waste regulations; physical, chemical and toxicological hazards of hazardous materials; respiratory protection; personal protective equipment; and decontamination. The class also broke up into smaller teams to conduct practice exercises.

Students and Community Groups Learn about Environmental Science

StudentsStudents from East Lycoming School District, Hughesville, with their instructor Robert Shelinski, visited the Drake Site in late October for a presentation and tour. This class of high school students is studying environmental science for advanced placement college credit. Leading the tour was U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lead project engineer David Modricker. Other school groups visiting Drake during the month included Bucknell University (Lewisburg, Pa.), Hartwick College (Oneonta, N.Y.) and health education faculty from Williamsport Area High School. In addition, the Drake Cleanup Team made a presentation to the Kiwanis Club of Lock Haven and hosted a tour for interested local residents. During November, Drake tours are scheduled for student groups from the Pennsylvania State University, Lock Haven University and Bucknell University. The Team will also make presentations at Loyalsock High School, Williamsport, during the month. (view large picture)

Should your community group or class like to tour the Drake Site or receive a presentation, please call the Community Outreach Center at 748-0872.


U.S. EPA Region 3
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Gregg Crystall (3HS22)
Drake Team Leader

David Polish (3HS43)
Community Involvement Coordinator

Community Information HOTLINE: 748-5602


184 Myrtle St.
Onsite Outreach Coordinator: George Drumbor drumbor_george@bah.com

Public Hours (Drop-Ins Invited)
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Saturdays, evenings and additional hours by appointment

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