PIKA designed, built, and implemented an innovative solution to improve safety during the decontamination process of the volatile white phosphorous (WP) canisters.
The U.S. Army Sustainment Command required us to conduct a time-critical response action that included retrieving, packaging, transportation and disposal of WP contaminated M825 canisters, WP and asbestos contaminated wastes from the burn rubble at Bldg. 41-010 at PBA. Due to the fire, many of the M825 Canisters were recovered with under pressure and unsafe to ship to a Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF). These canisters needed to be vented and decontaminated to make them safe to ship to an off-site disposal facility.
Since this time-critical response required mobilization within 3-5 days after receipt of notice to proceed (NTP), we obtained expedited approval of the Work Plan, Accident Prevention Plan, Site Safety and Health Plan, and Asbestos Abatement Plan. Prior to any field activities, we performed an extensive evaluation and assessment of the site to determine the environmental impact of the burn and potential WP migration, and developed procedures to reduce the risks to human health and the environment. Utilizing our asbestos-certified UXO technicians to segregate and remove WP contaminated materials, asbestos containing material (ACM), and other non-contaminated material, we then containerized the materials in drums for off-site disposal/recycling.
Our site personnel used Level B Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the recovery of the intact and damaged WP canisters from the footprint of Building 41-010. In addition, we designed and built a WP Treatment Unit (WPTU) that allowed the UXO personnel to safely cut the M825 WP canisters underwater and recover/containerize the canister contents, including such items as WP felts, into metal drums for safe shipment for off-site disposal. The WPTU allowed us to demilitarize and decontaminate the WP canisters at the same time increasing the safety and reducing the environmental impact to the area. We continuously monitored air quality, performed hazardous waste and materials management, addressed the ACM, and developed emergency plans as related to the unstable and damaged condition of the WP canisters during the entire response action.
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