Construction and demolition are messy industries. Construction and demolition pollution includes particulate emissions, more water pollution than any other industry, and excess noise. Common jobsite pollutants are oil, concrete, grout, chemicals, sewage, silt, waste materials, and dust.
Companies that specialize in demolition services can take special precautions to mitigate and minimize air, water, and noise pollution. In this post we focus on Portland demolition, and learn more about green demolition techniques. We discuss how a demolition crew can prevent pollution from spreading to the surrounding environment when they are on a job.
In general, when working on a job, demolition crews can help prevent the spread of pollution by:
- Leaving maximum vegetative cover, to prevent erosion and run-off.
- Using misters and/or fine mesh screens to control dust.
- Covering skips and trucks that are loaded with demolition debris.
- Covering piles of building materials such as cement, sand, and powders. Inspecting these piles regularly so as to be aware of spillages. Locating piles away from drains.
- Separating, covering, and sealing toxic materials. They should be monitored to ensure spills and contamination do not occur.
- Covering and protecting all drains on site.
- Collecting and disposing of wastewater according to environmental regulations.
- NOT burning any materials on site.
- Making efforts to reduce noise pollution through careful handling; the use of modern (quiet) power tools; and by employing structures such as sound shields.
Fire & Demolition Pollution Hazards
Oftentimes, demolition involves pulling scrap metal from building structures or industrial machinery. Such scrap metal may contain oil, paint, and other highly flammable materials. Sparks and the intense pressure of 40 ft. piles often lead to fires in scrap yards. As even scrap dust can be flammable, these fires can be particularly intense and dangerous. In just three years, there have been 23 fires in scrap yards in California, for example. Demolition crews must be aware of these risks as they pile scrap metal in work yards. As one of the West Coast’s largest scrap metal recyclers, we keep our workers up-to-date on how to prevent scrap metal fires.
Portland Industrial Demolition
Industrial demolition in Portland has its own set of hazards. One of these is the removal of radioactive material from industrial sites where humans cannot safely go. In particular, workers must be careful when working in places like old blast furnaces, because radiation gauges may be covered in grime or dirt making them hard or impossible to read. In these cases, radioactive tools or materials might be disposed of improperly, potentially causing harm to humans or the environment. HAZWOPER Certification, a 40-hour program on how to safely handle hazardous materials, is a must-have for demolition contractors who hope to minimize pollution. (All of our demolition workers undergo this HAZWOPER training.)
A West Coast Green Demolition Leader
One of the most important aspects of green demolition is that contaminants not be released into the surrounding air, soil or water. This includes the mitigation of dust, and preventing liquid spills from entering the drainage system or the soil. The second tenet of green demolition is the reuse and recycling of building materials. Green demolition takes more time because crews must meticulous deconstruct and organize the building materials, as the structure is pulled apart and demolished.
Elder Demolition is proud of its emphasis on environmental awareness. We enjoy finding new ways to “up the ante” as far as green demolition goes. You can count on us to carry out your demolition job in the greenest way possible.
[photo by: ell brown on Flickr via CC License]