WSG completes major waste project
By Steve Ducker05 December 2022
Industrial services specialist, Well Services Group (WSG), has successfully completed project to remove dangerous and hazardous materials from the former Redcar Steelworks in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
For what is regarded as one of Europe’s largest decommissioning projects, WSG had to adopt new methods of product and waste removal to safely handle toxic substances which for the past seven years have remained undisturbed in tanks and piping systems.
The former British Steel headquarters, which was mothballed in 2015, is being transformed to become part of the 1,821 ha (4,500 acre) Teesworks Freeport and renewables sector industrial hub.
WSG’s Industrial Services experts were mobilised to Teesworks’ Southbank Coke Ovens to complete Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH), removing material that could ignite spontaneously on exposure to air from the coke ovens’ distribution lines.
This type of hazardous work is usually carried out during site shutdowns while a plant is still online and operational, but WSG saiddue to the abrupt closure of the site in 2015, dangerous materials have lay dormant onsite.
“The project was unique within the industrial services industry,” said project manager Mark Loades.
“New methods of product and waste removal were required to accommodate the site operator’s and demolition contractor’s cleaning and decontamination requests, and it was a challenge that our industrial cleaning specialists met head on.
“This was an extremely difficult scope of work to complete due to the need to wear full face breathing apparatus and chemical suits, the dark and secluded location, and also due to the dangerous and toxic chemical makeup of the product, which included benzine, sulphur, naphthalene, toluene, and xylene.”
Commissioned by demolition specialist Thompsons of Prudhoe, the project was completed on schedule and with no incidents.
During the project multiple storage tanks and more than 7,000 m (23,000 ft) of system pipework ranging from 50 to 2,590 mm (2 to 102 in) diameter, were decontaminated.
The hazardous products removal included heavy fuel oil, pyrophoric coke oven gas dropouts, petroleum oil, tar thinners, creosote oil, benzol absorbing oil, naphthalene, phlegm oil, virgin ammonia liquor, and liquor tar.
The successful completion of the decontamination project led to WSG being appointed Thompsons’ preferred industrial cleaning contractor, which has opened up new opportunities for further work on the Teesworks site at the Redcar Blast Furnace and Redcar Coke Ovens.