Office of Environmental Management

Hanford, University Team Up to Test Filters for Waste Treatment Operations

October 8, 2019

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From left, Robert Sprague with Waste Treatment Completion Company, and Zach Phillips and Bill Trainor from Mississippi State University (MSU) test high-efficiency particulate air filters at Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.
From left, Robert Sprague with Waste Treatment Completion Company, and Zach Phillips and Bill Trainor from Mississippi State University (MSU) test high-efficiency particulate air filters at Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Mississippi State University (MSU) technicians recently collaborated with EM Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) Analytical Laboratory (LAB) contractor Bechtel National, Inc. (BNI) to test high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems.

“This testing is an important part of our progress toward starting tank waste treating operations,” said Howard Sawyer, BNI startup manager for the LAB. “We want to ensure that safety and quality are built into the WTP so that we are protecting the public, workers, and the environment during operations.”

The HEPA filters weigh 72 pounds each and are used in multiple banks of four filters, called housings. The LAB holds 34 housings and 136 filters.

The circular shape of the filter traps contaminants better than previous designs and is relatively new to the nuclear industry. The filters are at least five times stronger than standard HEPA filters and exceed WTP-specific standards and codes.

The BNI testing team conducted the test, and the MSU team collected and analyzed the data and will provide a final report in coming weeks.

“Our strong partnership with MSU has been critical to our success,” said Tommy Davis, BNI facility test lead. “This was an intricate and detailed process, from the prep work and procedure development through the actual testing, and we have been in lockstep with MSU the entire time.”

BNI and MSU are now conducting filter tests in WTP’s Low-Activity Waste Facility and will eventually conduct them in the plant’s Effluent Management Facility.

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