The closure process of any plant that deals with chemicals and hazardous substances is not a simple shut down process, rather it needs to be pre-planned, well organized into well defined steps and approved by the DTSC, the department of toxic substance control.
We’ll be discussing the closure process with reference to the closed EXIDE facility in Vernon California.
According to the DTSC, the closure process involves a well defined plan that is to be presented before the closure process starts. This plan needs to be well detailed and well defined, including the process, the schedule along with dates, the financial assurance and all the things that will be used should be mentioned in the plan.
We can say, there should be a detail of each and everything that will be carried out in the process so that nothing is below standard.
After the approval of the plan, the closure process executes. The whole process involves step by step completion of each step and at each step the DTSC will be testing the quality of the work done and to check if the closure process is being carried out within the defined guidelines by DTSC and complies to the quality standards 100%.
Exide Technologies worked through the steps successfully, they completed the whole closure process with each and every step checked and approved by the DTSC.
With each and every step it has been emphasized that, the process should not contaminate, destroy or harm the surrounding, the environment, and the other entities and may not harm the living beings that are there.
So, to make sure the process is going the right way, DTSC checks the samples taken from the site after the completion of each and every step.
So, here is the whole process that was used by the Exide batteries and was devised approved by the DTSC for the sake of securing the surrounding and the surrounding entities along with the safety of all living being within that area.
We’ll see what is involved and what will happen in each and every phase:
The process includes the three main phases
The whole three step process is also termed as the 3Ds. This process involves a careful handling of all of the components so that nothing harmful is released into the environment and no chemical substance is left on the site causing contamination and creation of hazardous materials.
Decontamination involves the removal of all the chemical substances from where they are stored very carefully. The whole facility gets cleaned so that the hazardous materials are removed with nothing left behind.
The whole materials and waste products are removed in a way that they carried through the authorized waste management facility so that all the materials are disposed properly.
Along with the materials the containers and the parts that are involved in handling of the substances and get in contact with the hazardous substances also required to be decontaminated so that no chemical is left inside. It involves pressure washing, vacuuming and cleaning all the walls, containers and the floors so that no traces are left there.
After the completion of decontamination phase, the DTSC will take samples from walls, concrete and soil to test if the site is decontaminated according to the given standards.
Exide got approved after the first phase and the second phase started.
The deconstruction phase
This phase involves the deconstruction and breaking down all the facility components, into manageable sizes so that they can be handled easily. After the removal of all the machinery and containers, the whole building also goes through the decontamination process so that there is nothing hazardous left behind.
The structures are tented, covered with sheets and the whole building has to be HEPA vacuumed and pressure washed to remove all dirt particles if there are any. DTSC will confirm the quality after testing the samples taken from the cleaned and decontaminated building area.
After that the equipment and the structure components will be carried away for disposal, with a surety that the surrounding will stay free of dust and will not affect the surrounding entities.
These components and structures will be carried to other facilities to reuse, or they will be carried to the authorized facility for recycling, or they will be disposed of as hazardous or nonhazardous materials.
The whole process is designed so that the surroundings, environment and the people living around will stay protect and will not be affected by any hazardous substances for sure.