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Demolition began at Salem Harbor Station this past month, with crews first setting upon one of the power plant’s 11 steel tanks. Workers on site said they were thrilled the plant is finally hitting the demolition milestone.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Lou Arak, project director.

B5 is a large oil tank between the plant’s former coal pile and Derby Street. The process to demolish it involves cutting off pieces with a claw tool on a long-reach excavator. The tool is used both to slice sections of the steel and then grab them out of place.  “It can actually shear like scissors would,” Arak said. “When you pull it, it’ll pull across the weld lines.”

Before workers could get that far, they had to tear open an entrance in the retaining wall that surrounds the tank, so the excavator could get in. This was also done with the excavator. The wall will remain in place while the tank is coming down, as it blocks noise.  The pieces of tank will be stored on site temporarily and then transferred to a barge at the plant’s former coal dock, from which they’ll travel to a steel recycling facility.

The beginning of the demolition comes after a cleanup phase that saw a small group of workers disconnect electricity, drain oil from machines and perform other tasks in the weeks immediately following the plant’s shutdown at the end of May. Demolition will focus first on the site’s southerly portions, an area populated by tanks and the massive coal conveyor.  Before they can be dismantled, the tanks have to be thoroughly cleaned out. Two of them still need to be cleaned; one was left with oil during the plant’s last weeks, so the plant could generate electricity again should the regional grid operator request it.  

“These are the last two vestiges of being able to produce power,” Arak said.

Scott Silverstein, Footprint’s president, said demolition on the southerly section of the 64-acre site should be complete by Thanksgiving, and there’s a “time crunch” on the work, since the incoming gas-fired power plant will be erected in that area.  “The tanks, the conveyor belt, the stacks, the whole area where the new plant will be built will be cleared, and then we’ll move into the building itself,” Silverstein said.

There’s no end date for the northerly portion of the property, which includes the main building, but Silverstein said it should be completed sometime next year. And no, Footprint won’t be bringing the smokestacks down all at once.  Footprint won’t implode any of the stacks. Two of them are too close to National Grid infrastructure to be demolished in such a way. The third stack, a newer, 430-foot one, could possibly have been taken down in that fashion, but Silverstein said that, “due to its proximity to the neighborhood, it was something that was never on the drawing board for us.”

To tackle a stack, demolition crews will remove everything inside, including potentially valuable metals, and then begin chipping away at the top, letting the chunks fall down the center to the bottom, to be cleaned out later.

“Every day, it will just be imperceptibly lower,” Silverstein said. “It’s a little bit like you take down a tree: You take off the top branches at first, and then, you work down to the stump.”

Arak said one challenging part of the demolition will be the coal conveyor, which will come down in sections, beginning at the top. The corrugated lining of the structure contains a material called transite, which contains asbestos. Once the sections are removed, they’ll be brought inside the building for abatement processes.   “Things like the coal conveyor are really novel,” he said.

When they focus on the building itself, demolition workers will strip it of metals and keep an eye out for salvageable machines. Silverstein said that even the seemingly outdated computer equipment in the control room could find new life at another plant.  “It’s very hard to get spare parts,” he said.

As for the plan to take materials off site, Silverstein said, “Everything that we can get onto a barge, we’re going to get on a barge.”  They’ll have to be careful, since the dock where barges will berth is being renovated to host midsized cruise ships, the first of which arrives in October.  “It’s a little bit of a delicate dance,” he said, “but the only good thing that’s come from the delays that we’ve faced is that it gives our folks a lot of time to carefully choreograph things and make sure we know who’s got what part of the dance floor on which day.”

If something can’t be moved by barge, Silverstein said Footprint will rely on small trucks.  “Our rule of thumb has been we want to limit trucks to … basically the size of UPS or FedEx trucks,” he said.

Silverstein echoed the sentiments of site workers who were happy to see demolition begin.  “We’re excited to get started,” he said. “I think it’s good for us, and more importantly, it’s good for Salem.”

The demolition contractor for the project is JDC Demolition, Brockton, Mass. The firm is headed by Chris Berardi, former President of North American Site Developers (NASDI). NASDI was purchased this year Dore & Associates, Michigan.

Striking Gold!

Here’s the kind of story you like to read about, and hope it happens to you some day. We can only wish.

A retired couple has struck gold after buying a farmhouse in Portugal which lay vacant for years.  The couple took a gamble and purchased the rundown property at a knockdown price.  The property came with a barn… welded shut, and once opened, the man’s retirement fund was complete.

Inside the barn were scores of vintage cars including Aston Martins, Mercedes and various Lotus models.  All dusty but roadworthy, and worth a fortune.

Philadelphia Requires New Signage on Demolition Sites

PHILADELPHIA, PA – As a measure taken in the aftermath of a building demolition that killed six people last year, the city of Philadelphia is now requiring construction and demolition sites to post large signs that provide ample details to the public about the work being done at the site.  According to a report from CBS Philadelphia, the city received calls from pedestrians concerned about the safety demolition work being done at a four-story building on Market Street last year.

The building collapsed during demolition on June 5, 2013, killing six people and injuring a dozen more. Unfortunately, the city says the citizens who called “lacked pertinent information about the project” that would have led to the city stepping in and stopping the work.

The new signs are meant to provide passers-by with all the information they might need when calling to report concerns over work. The signs must measure 4 feet tall by 6 feet wide for all construction and demolition jobs on buildings with more than three stories. On those with three or fewer, smaller signs are required.  The larger sign includes the anticipated completion date, the names of the developer and general contractor, an artist’s rendering of what the completed building will look like must include the names of the owner and construction manager, artist’s renderings of the final design, completion date, and the suggestion to call the city if problems are observed.  The signs also include a QR code that passers-by can scan with their smartphones that will take them to the city’s Licenses and Inspections department where they can find contact information and more information about the project.

Top 5 Safety Precautions for Demo Projects

Proper equipment, trained personnel and other measures are essential to safe demolitions.

Safety has and always will be the most important part of constructions, renovations and demolitions. Always having the best and most up-to-date equipment, as well as taking the necessary precautions, has saved countless lives throughout the years. These precautions are simple and easy things that you should always be sure to do. These precautions take just a few minutes to oversee, but could make the difference when it comes to a safe demolition. Here are the top five safety precautions for demolitions:

1. Equipment
 — Employees should always be knowledgeable of all aspects of work, regardless of their specialty or area of work. It’s important that each and every employee understands what equipment should be worn and present throughout the demolition. Make sure that each employee also knows and understands how to use each piece of equipment properly. This quick and simple sweep to make sure each employee has all the proper equipment required can help save lives and prevent any or all future injuries as you go throughout the demolition. In addition, make sure that each employee has a hard hat, as well as a mask, gloves, and work boots.

2. Final sweep — Always do a final sweep before demolition begins. It’s absolutely recommended to go into each and every room, including closets, bathrooms and hallways, to assure that everyone and everything is out of the building. It’s necessary to assure that each worker is out of the building and at a safe distance before demolition begins. Likewise, make sure that the building is monitored by employees to make sure that unauthorized people do not get close to the demolition site. If others are present, make sure all equipment is equipped and readily available to any newcomers. Assign someone to assure the final sweep has been made. Make sure that everyone knows who to report to. Once the final sweep is done, notify the person in charge. The demolition can then take place safely.

3. Experienced and trained employees — It’s absolutely necessary that only trained and experienced employees handle the more dangerous and explosive materials. These employees should be qualified, professional, mature and experienced enough to handle the responsibility and carefulness required by those handling explosives. These employees, if trained correctly, can help prevent accidents on the work site.

4. Brace ceilings and walkways — If for any reason anyone needs to enter the building, it’s necessary for every ceiling and walkway to be braced. This will easily provide extra support in case an accident occurs, helping prevent a huge amount of accidents, injuries and even deaths.

5. Cleaning up debris — Make sure that all employees are wearing and equipped with the proper equipment to clean up any and all debris once the demolition has taken place. This equipment includes gloves, a mask and work boots. Most importantly, however, make sure that only authorized employees are present during the clean-up and demolition. This stage can be very dangerous, but taking these necessary steps can prevent an array of injuries and accidents.

Safety is always the most important thing while doing anything, especially throughout construction or demolitions. By doing these five simple things, you could easily save lives, reduce injuries and make the most of any demolition.

Costa Concordia Makes Final Voyage

Work is about to start cutting up the Costa Concordia piece by piece. It’s future now, scrap metal for cars, refrigerators and washing machines.

The wrecked liner dominated the port of Genoa where ironically it was built nine years ago. It had taken four days to tow the ship from the island of Giglio after a two-year salvage operation. Another mammoth task lies ahead.  Huge amounts of steel from the 115, 000 ton vessel will be transformed into girders for the construction industry. It’s expected the scrap metal from its 14 decks will fetch around $360 a ton in an operation costing an estimated $134 million and led by a consortium of two Italian firms.  Around 80% of the liner will be recycled and reused. Copper from the ships hundreds of miles of electrical wiring will be salvaged. Machinery from its elevators and equipment from its kitchens will also be cannibalized and reused.  Before that happens all the fittings, furnishings and non-metal items have to be stripped from the ship.

Work will start on the highest of the 14 decks under what the Italians said were more stringent environmental standards than if the contract had gone to Bangladesh, India, Turkey or China.

The final voyage of the once luxury liner has cost its owners over 1.5 billion euros.

Author: Herb Duane, IDE Retired Member

The content of this article represents the personal views of the author and nothing is to be taken as representing the views, opinions, policy or position of any other persons or organisations mentioned herein or of The Institute of Demolition Engineers.