Four massive porcelain sludge pits totaling approximately 100,000 cubic feet had not been cleaned since the plant opened in 2018. The sheer volume of sludge required to be pumped out of the pits, coupled with the nature of it being a significantly viscous material, already presented challenging circumstances. Complicating matters was sub-zero temperatures and the facility’s scheduled shutdown during the holidays, which didn’t allow for any adjustments to the work schedule.
Since the porcelain sludge within the pits was very cold and thick, with varying depths from four feet to 12 feet, hot water at high pressure was used to help thin the material as it was slowly fed into aluminum piping that was connected to a King Vac industrial air mover unit – a powerful and specialized piece of equipment designed to vacuum remove solids, sludges and slurries. Once the pit was relatively empty, crews proceeded to clean the walls, piping and other internal components within the pits with the hot water pressure washers.
Hull’s worked eight days straight, within the scheduled holiday shutdown, eventually vacuum removing approximately 400,000 gallons of porcelain sludge that was relocated onsite for recycling. The project not only completed on time but also was within budget, incurring no change orders or additional associated costs.
Six technicians, one supervisor, one liquid ring truck and operator, one vacuum truck, one roll-off truck, three vacuum boxes, two trailer mounted pressure washers, three service trucks, 300’ of aluminum hard pipe, 150 feet of six-inch corrugated HDPE hose.