What We’ll Be Covering in This Post:
- Why environmental remediation is so important
- What qualifies for the EPA to consider a superfund site
- The importance of containing a contaminated site
- Dangers of the process
- Where Tension Fabric Structures come into play
Environmental remediation is a critical service to remove industrial or other contaminants from soil and water in order to protect human health and the natural environment. The goal is to restore sites to their natural condition for a healthy ecosystem, or especially in the case of urban sites, to make contaminated land reusable and free of contaminants dangerous to humans. Most remediation projects are carried out under the supervision of the EPA that oversees cleanup and safety standards in the potentially dangerous process of environmental cleanup. Firms carrying out the work follow EPA guidelines and provide safety protocols for their workers on-site, as well as for human communities or nature in the vicinity of the worksite. This includes the use of site-suitable environmental remediation containment structures and systems to isolate toxins, prevent the escape of airborne contaminants, and sometimes, particularly in urban environments, shield the dangerous worksite from public view.
Superfund and Other Environmental Cleanup Sites
There are thousands of contaminated sites across the US. Environmental remediation may be required in a number of situations, including on private industrial sites, public waterways, or abandoned mines. Many are small and localized to a building or lot and remediation is completed privately or with local or state government involvement. Larger and long-term projects generally fall under the jurisdiction of the EPA. These sites, called Superfund sites, are regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).
To determine if a site qualifies for cleanup under the Superfund program, EPA considers the volume and toxicity of the contamination, and the number of people who could be affected, and generates a score from zero to 100. Sites that score above 28.5 qualify for the National Priorities List (NPL). As of October 2021, there were 1165 Superfund sites listed on the NPL. To date, the EPA’s Superfund has cleaned up and removed 430 sites from the list.
Common contaminants at contaminated sites include substances such as lead, dioxin, radiation, and asbestos, all hazardous to humans and animal life. Protecting the public as well as work crews from these hazards is paramount.
Containment is Key to Successful Remediation
Once a contaminated site is identified, an assessment determines the actions required. An investigation determines the nature and extent of the contamination. Then a risk assessment determines the threats to human health and the environment due to the contamination. The last step is a study to determine the possible plans of action to carry out cleanup and restore the site to its natural state. A number of cleanup methods may be considered before work begins.
The cleanup process itself is not free of dangers. Toxic chemicals are used to carry out the removal of contaminants. There is potential for fumes, runoff or particles carried on the wind. Most projects benefit from containing the work area in an enclosure to minimize interaction with the greater environment. Of course, all health and safety protocols are followed to keep work crews safe, including proper clothing and equipment, air filtration systems as needed, and regular health monitoring.
Containment Structures for Environmental Remediation
Tension fabric structures (TFS) are a versatile containment structure solution that can be quickly put in place to cover almost any size work field. Allsite’s high-strength TFS is supported by a highly stable, corrosion and rust-resistant engineered aluminum frame. They can be configured to fit site requirements and be open-ended or fully enclosed. The fabric covering consists of industrial strength PVC that isolates the interior and is rain, snow, and UV resistant, as well as resistant to damage from fire and chemical spills. The TFS interior is high clearance, up to 54’ in height, to allow large equipment operation within the building.
The structures can be installed on any surface, including wet, rocky, frozen, or uneven ground. We offer a variety of anchorage systems to accommodate the site’s geography and project needs. Also available are door, lighting, and ventilation options, as well as air filtration capability, if needed.
The structures are easily moveable around the site as work progresses to new areas. Highly durable, mold and bacteria-resistant, they require little maintenance and can provide years of service. Structures are usually available to ship within weeks of order.
With this modular, lightweight product, installation is simple and fast, usually a few weeks. We offer technical consulting services to carry out the installation to the client’s satisfaction, or we can provide training and oversight for clients wishing to use their own labor for installation. Technical assistance is on standby for the duration of the project.
Allsite is the leading provider of environmental remediation structures in North America. Our containment buildings are found at Superfund sites such as this one on the Great Lakes as well as other projects.
For more information on an Allsite tension fabric containment structure, contact Allsite today.