Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Around the Sound: It's raining ideas ...

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program

As the rain roars down on Bainbridge, the ideas for Wyckoff site cleanup keep flowing.

Mike Basel of Haley & Aldrich Inc. in Lenexa, KS, said the goods news is that we can address the problems at Wyckoff. “It’s not easy and it’s not cheap,” he cautioned, but combining a number of cleanup and containment methods might produce the best results.

Mike and other experts have said that containing pollution will cost less over time than removing it. But there’s also more uncertainty about what could happen if you just leave the contamination in place.

Mike suggested improvements in thermal applications could produce results for Wyckoff. He noted that half of his industry’s experience in thermal applications has come in the past decade. That experience came after EPA’s test of steam injection at Wyckoff, which didn’t work too well.

Eva Davis of EPA in Ada, OK, is familiar with the Wyckoff site because she’s been involved in EPA’s work there, including that earlier test. (That’s Eva in the photo.)

Eva walked through a variety of possibilities. She said based on her experience and science she’s familiar with, she recommends using steam injection. She noted it’s working here in Washington at a Port of Ridgefield site.

Kent Udell of the University of Utah isn’t sold on steam injection. He said steam can actually bypass some of the contamination if that material isn’t volatile. But steam can do a great job of extracting contamination under some circumstances.

There’s been a lot of talk about the success of steam injection at a former poleyard in Visalia, CA. While some conditions are similar, the Visalia site is much smaller than Wyckoff and it’s not right on the edge of a large water body like Puget Sound.

Join in the discussion at www.twitter.com/wyckoffgen. Find the experts’ presentations here, under the entry for Jan. 12-14.

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