Goodpasture, an agricultural chemical producer, uses white phosphorus as an intermediate to produce fertilizers for the agricultural industry in Texas – storing 750,000 pounds of the material in eleven 30,000-gallon tanks. But, the tanks had been out of service for more than 20 years, causing deterioration to their structural integrity as well as to that of the tank apparatus. This was a dangerous situation, because if exposed to air, white phosphorous will burst into flames.
SET was contracted to transfer material out of the tanks and into DOT-approved containers for transportation, to clean the interiors of the tanks, and to decommission and dismantle the tanks for scrap metal recycling.
SET formulated an on-site procedure that combined cold removal with heat/agitation of the white phosphorus and phosphorus muds without entering the tank. Once the bulk of the material was flowable, it was transferred into DOT-approved, 30-gallon drums in an airtight system to ensure no reactive material came in contact with the atmosphere.
SET also excavated 1,500 yd3 of phosphorus-contaminated soil under the tanks and surrounding area to complete the project.