RICHLAND, Wash. – EM Office of River Protection (ORP) contractors Bechtel National Inc. (BNI) and Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) recently joined forces to test transfer lines that establish the first connection between the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) and an operating tank farms facility at the Hanford Site.
The transfer lines will move condensate produced during vitrification, or immobilization of tank waste in glass, in the plant’s Low Activity Waste (LAW) facility to the nearby Liquid Effluent Retention Facility (LERF) operated by tank operations contractor WRPS. BNI holds the contract to design, build, start up, and commission the WTP. The large holding basins at LERF support operations at the nearby Effluent Treatment Facility (EFT) that remove chemical and radiological contaminants from wastewater.
The testing process required filling 7,000 feet of pipeline with 5,000 gallons of water and pressurizing the lines to check for leaks.
“The testing went smoothly, and workers demonstrated the line is ready to support round-the-clock operations at the plant to treat waste from Hanford’s large underground tanks,” said Richard Valle, ORP program manager for the project.
Matt Huntington, lead project engineer for WRPS, praised team members from both contractors for the coordination and communication demonstrated throughout the project.
“The tenacity and dedication of employees of both companies to communicate, focus on safety, and follow all COVID-19 controls was impressive,” he said.
Steve Thieme, project manager for Waste Treatment Completion Company, a subcontractor to BNI, said, “This transfer line project set the standard for future collaboration between contractors that will support the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste approach to treating tank waste.”
The LAW facility will use two massive melters to mix tank waste and glass-forming materials at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit. The condensate created will be sent to the LERF prior to being processed at the ETF. WRPS is completing a series of upgrades at ETF to increase its capacity and reliability prior to starting 24/7 operations at WTP to vitrify tank waste.