Tank Exhaust and Pollution Control System Inspection
Types and Amounts of Contaminants Unknown
Data Needed to Plan for Cleanup
When a closed manufacturing facility was scheduled for redevelopment under the Brownfields Program, the company needed a way to identify “types” and “quantities” of contaminants present to assist in planning for the EPA-regulated remediation. To accurately identify the contaminants contained within the systems, all of the pipe ducting in the tank exhaust and pollution control systems had to be inspected.
Confined Spaces in Elevated Environments
Without knowing the nature and quantity of contaminants, safety was of utmost concern. The systems were elevated, containing long stretches of ductwork, some measuring up to 300 feet in length. In similar inspections, at least two employees with masks, safety leashes and safety suits would cut several access openings at short distances into the long stretches of ductwork along the way, each time risking the release of unknown contaminants into the surrounding area. To collect material samples, they would reach in with a small plastic paint scraper and manually place the materials into a glass jar. The process was time consuming, carried safety risk and required significant resources.
Visual Inspection and Data Collection
Seeking a safer, more efficient inspection method, the company chose the Guardian® S multi-purpose mobile inspection robot to perform an in-depth visual inspection and to collect the material samples required to plan for remediation.
An operator inserted the untethered robot into a single access hole and guided it from a safe distance, moving it through the ducting. High-definition video footage was streamed in real time back to the operator while sensor-based data (such as infrared and GPS) was recorded, and material samples were gathered with collection tubes attached to the robot’s Picatinny rails.
Low Risk, High Reward
The Guardian S robot completed the inspection and material collection in 5 hours, delivering quality video footage and high-definition images, along with material samples that were sent to the lab for precise analysis. Twenty-seven labor hours were saved, without risking employee safety because the remote inspection eliminated the need for employees to enter the confined space.
The Guardian S robot collected samples from within the ducting at no risk to the external air quality. Knowing the nature of the contaminates allowed the company to plan precise efforts for remediation that complied with all regulatory requirements. In addition, the company saved the potential travel and processing costs associated with additional trips to the hazardous disposal facility.