Remediating A Fire Site

by James L. Machin, (M.ASCE), Senior Engr.; Radian Corporation, 8501 Mo-Pac Blvd., Austin, TX 78720-1088,
Janet Ehresmann, Environmental Engr.; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, 1624 Douglas, Room 608, Omaha, NE 68102,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 4, Pg. 55-56

Document Type: Feature article


Machin and Ehresmann describe remediation of a 15 acre fire site at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. An investigation after the fire showed that all of the debris contained asbestos. Sampling confirmed that PCB levels of about 100 ppm in soil existed in the area where a transformer fell to the ground. In addition, lead concentrations exceeding the EP Toxicity criterion for defining characteristically hazardous waste were found in most of the ash and underlying soil. The vertical extent of contamination was determined to be only in the top one foot of soil. A laboratory study to determine how to treat the ash/soil in situ and render it nonhazardous showed that the most cost-effective treatment would be to admix pulverized limestone in a 10% final weight ratio. This treatment keeps the lead in the relatively insoluble carbonate form such that it does not become mobile during the acid leaching of the EP Toxicity procedure. Engineering plans and specifications were prepared to remediate the site and return it to an aesthetically pleasing state suitable for any use by Fort Huachuca. Cleanup activities were completed in September 1989.

Subject Headings: Soil pollution | Remediation | Fires | Lead (chemical) | Toxicity | Laboratory tests | Debris | Asbestos

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