Investigation and Analysis of Solids in Municipal Storage Tank Leads to Cleaning/Removal

Staff at the City of Helena’s Missouri River Water Treatment Plant (MRWTP) had intended to repurpose a steel storage tank previously used to store alum.

Even though the tank had been cleaned, when sodium hydroxide (lye) was added to it, it created a chemical reaction that burned a hole in the tank wall and left about three cubic yards of dense foam inside. Olympus Technical Services was contracted to investigate and provide recommendations on proper handling and disposal of the material.

Olympus analyzed the solids and provided results to the City of Helena. Because the material was found to be acidic and the steel storage tank was a permit-required confined space, city personnel at the plant were not able to remove the material themselves, so Olympus was contracted to perform the work.

Olympus broke up and removed the material from the tank, bagged it in approximately 100 55-gallon bags, and transported it to a city-owned trailer outside of the building so that city staff could transport it to the landfill for proper disposal. The tank was deemed unrepairable and was tagged for scrap.

Project Challenges:

  • Work was conducted inside an active water treatment facility with controlled access to the property.
  • The material remaining in the tank, despite looking like foam, was as hard as concrete. A jackhammer was required to break it up for removal.
  • The solids to be removed were acidic, necessitating that level C personal protective equipment be worn while inside the tank.
  • A harness and rope were required to enter and exit the tank.
  • The work generated a lot of dust inside the tank. The filters on workers’ respirators filled up quickly so personnel had to be swapped out frequently.

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“Olympus Technical Services was great to work with. They established safe perimeters for their work zone, communicated well with the city, and completed the work in a timely and efficient manner. We would highly recommend Olympus!”

Lorette Carter
City of Shelby, Montana

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“We worked with Olympus to demolish, dispose, and backfill two buildings containing hazardous materials. Olympus’ crew was receptive to our requests, adapted to changing site conditions, suggested ways to increase efficiency, and didn’t sway from their proposed cost. Together we changed the site from dilapidated hazardous buildings to a clean construction-ready property.”

Michael P. Kelly

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“We used Olympus Technical Services to do a remediation project and some extensive concrete demolition and backfill work. The work was performed flawlessly and professionally, and the field staff was great to work with. When site challenges presented themselves, Olympus was intuitive and creative in solving them. They were a great company to deal with.”

Mike Heisey
Bonner Property Development, LLC

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“Olympus Technical Services won a major demolition bid with FCEDA. The bid was fair and the work started on time and finished in advance of our deadline. It was a difficult job with several unknowns that caused delays, change orders, and equipment breakdowns. Throughout, the team from Olympus was professional, flexible, and made sound recommendations. They were great partners on a difficult project. Because of this experience, we have recommended them to many of our partners.”

Christy Cummings Dawson
Flathead County Economic Development Authority

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"Simply put, as a consultant to the retail fueling industry, Olympus Technical Services is one of the foremost authorities in terms of environmental regulations, permits, emergency response and petroleum cleanup."

Trent Biggers
Town Pump, Inc.

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“The company motto for Olympus Technical Services, Inc. should be ‘We are here to do whatever it takes to get the job done.’ The team of professional personnel at Olympus are each highly qualified, responsive, and innovative. Their problem-solving methods and can-do attitudes create results."

Catherine LeCours
Pacific West Technologies