A new system to move contaminated soil and demolition debris at Hanford won honors for a CH2M Hill Plateau Remedation Co. team Thursday night.
The Eastern Washington Chapter of the Academy of Certified Hazardous Materials Managers presented awards at its annual dinner in Richland.
The CH2M Hill "super dump trucks" project won the Excellence in Hazardous Materials Management Award. Waste disposal costs were reduced by 40 percent in a trial using 12 trucks and injuries from handling tarps were eliminated by installing automating equipment.
The new dump trucks haul an average of 24 tons -- more than the roll-off boxes usually hauled by truck, which transport an average of 18 tons.
The new trucks also eliminated a stop at the container transfer station for each load since waste is directly loaded onto trucks.
Less labor was needed, since roll-off boxes no longer needed to be staged and loaded for transportation and trucks could dump waste directly into the Hanford landfill for low-level radioactive waste.
In the past, workers needed to tie down tarps, and they reported injuries from the stretching and reaching needed to pull tarps and ropes. In the new system, the process has been automated.
The project is an example of re-evaluating the way work had been done for 15 years and identifying improvements, according to the award announcement.
The Hazardous Materials Manager of the Year Award went to Paul W. Martin of CH2M Hill, who has compiled weekly regulatory summaries and interpretations and distributed them across Hanford and to other DOE nuclear cleanup sites for 17 years.
He developed the Two Minute Training program, in which environmental topics are condensed into brief summaries to be distributed. It improves worker knowledge about regulatory requirements and provides a contact for those with questions, according to the award announcement.
CH2M Hill also won the Department of Energy Office of River Protection Manager's Award for Exemplary Service for its helicopter survey project.
It saved $700,000 and six months' work by using a helicopter equipped with an array of sensors to find spots of radioactive contamination in a burial cribs area at Hanford.
Decades ago, small animals were attracted to radioactive salts disposed of in the ground and spread contamination through their droppings across thousands of acres. Fifty years later as part of cleanup of Hanford, the shallow soil contamination spread over shrub steppe land is being cleaned up.
Rather than using ground crews to survey for radioactive contamination, the helicopter was flown at 80 miles per hour over 13 square miles to find contaminated spots.
The aerial survey method proved dependable and reliable and reduced worker exposure to contamination, according to the award announcement.
The Hazardous Materials Identification and Control Research Award went to the Washington River Protection Solutions group working on methods to retrieve radioactive waste from leak-prone underground tanks.
It improved technologies previously developed and worked on new technologies, including a mobile robotic arm, planned to be inserted into tanks after larger risers are installed. It reach to more than 30 feet and can rotate 360 degrees.
In addition, Robbie Tidwell won the chapter's Outstanding Service Award, Tom Ashley won the chapter's Presidential Award and Andrea Hopkins won the award for meritorious achievement to the chapter.
Annette Cary: 582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org; More Hanford news at hanfordnews.com