Livermore Lab Cleans Visalia Pole Yard a Century Ahead of Schedule and Millions of Dollars Under Budget

Oct. 20, 2009
Livermore Lab cleans Visalia Pole Yard a century ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget.
Lawrence Livermore National Lab,

Engineers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory used dynamic hydrous pyrolysis/oxidation (HPO), a process invented at the lab, to clean the California Edison’s Visalia Pole Yard more than 100 years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. The Visalia site had been used for 80 years to treat utility poles by dipping them in creosote or pentachlorophenal. But by the 1970s, these chemicals had seeped into the soil and groundwater to depths of 100 ft. Shortly after this discovery, the four-acre Visalia facility was declared one of the first Superfund cleanup sites.

The cleanup method first used was pump and treat, which involved pumping out the toxic water and soil and treating it to remove hydrocarbons. The process removed about 10 lb/week and experts predicted they would have to build a permanent pump-and-treat facility to keep contaminants from spreading, an option that would cost more than $100 million.

But scientists at Livermore developed HPO, a process in which contaminants are turned into carbon dioxide, chloride ions, and water using injected heat and oxygen. This process removed 46,000 lb of hydrocarbons weekly. And after HPO, the site’s groundwater meets drinking-water standards. Total clean up took 10 years and cost $14 million.

Sponsored Recommendations

MOVI-C Unleashed: Your One-Stop Shop for Automation Tasks

April 17, 2024
Discover the versatility of SEW-EURODRIVE's MOVI-C modular automation system, designed to streamline motion control challenges across diverse applications.

The Power of Automation Made Easy

April 17, 2024
Automation Made Easy is more than a slogan; it signifies a shift towards smarter, more efficient operations where technology takes on the heavy lifting.

Lubricants: Unlocking Peak Performance in your Gearmotor

April 17, 2024
Understanding the role of lubricants, how to select them, and the importance of maintenance can significantly impact your gearmotor's performance and lifespan.

From concept to consumption: Optimizing success in food and beverage

April 9, 2024
Identifying opportunities and solutions for plant floor optimization has never been easier. Download our visual guide to quickly and efficiently pinpoint areas for operational...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!