skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Large-Scale Urban Decontamination; Developments, Historical Examples and Lessons Learned

Abstract

Recent terrorist threats and actual events have lead to a renewed interest in the technical field of large scale, urban environment decontamination. One of the driving forces for this interest is the real potential for the cleanup and removal of radioactive dispersal device (RDD or “dirty bomb”) residues. In response the U. S. Government has spent many millions of dollars investigating RDD contamination and novel decontamination methodologies. Interest in chemical and biological (CB) cleanup has also peaked with the threat of terrorist action like the anthrax attack at the Hart Senate Office Building and with catastrophic natural events such as Hurricane Katrina. The efficiency of cleanup response will be improved with these new developments and a better understanding of the “old reliable” methodologies. Perhaps the most interesting area of investigation for large area decontamination is that of the RDD. While primarily an economic and psychological weapon, the need to cleanup and return valuable or culturally significant resources to the public is nonetheless valid. Several private companies, universities and National Laboratories are currently developing novel RDD cleanup technologies. Because of its longstanding association with radioactive facilities, the U. S. Department of Energy National Laboratories are at the forefront in developing andmore » testing new RDD decontamination methods. However, such cleanup technologies are likely to be fairly task specific; while many different contamination mechanisms, substrate and environmental conditions will make actual application more complicated. Some major efforts have also been made to model potential contamination, to evaluate both old and new decontamination techniques and to assess their readiness for use. Non-radioactive, CB threats each have unique decontamination challenges and recent events have provided some examples. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as lead agency for these emergency cleanup responses, has a sound approach for decontamination decision-making that has been applied several times. The anthrax contamination at the U. S. Hart Senate Office Building and numerous U. S. Post Office facilities are examples of employing novel technical responses. Decontamination of the Hart Office building required development of a new approach for high level decontamination of biological contamination as well as techniques for evaluating the technology effectiveness. The World Trade Center destruction also demonstrated the need for, and successful implementation of, appropriate cleanup methodologies. There are a number of significant lessons that can be gained from a look at previous large scale cleanup projects. Too often we are quick to apply a costly “package and dispose” method when sound technological cleaning approaches are available. Understanding historical perspectives, advanced planning and constant technology improvement are essential to successful decontamination.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
911958
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-06-11659
TRN: US200801%%404
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC07-99ID-13727
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Waste Management 07,Tucson, AZ,02/28/2007,03/02/2007
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES/GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE STUDIES AND CLIMATE MITIGATION; CLEANING; CONTAMINATION; DECISION MAKING; DECONTAMINATION; DOLLARS; ECONOMICS; EFFICIENCY; IMPLEMENTATION; OFFICE BUILDINGS; PLANNING; REMOVAL; RESIDUES; SUBSTRATES; TESTING; US EPA; WASTE MANAGEMENT; cbrn; decontamination; dirty bomb; rdd; wmd

Citation Formats

Rick Demmer. Large-Scale Urban Decontamination; Developments, Historical Examples and Lessons Learned. United States: N. p., 2007. Web.
Rick Demmer. Large-Scale Urban Decontamination; Developments, Historical Examples and Lessons Learned. United States.
Rick Demmer. Thu . "Large-Scale Urban Decontamination; Developments, Historical Examples and Lessons Learned". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/911958.
@article{osti_911958,
title = {Large-Scale Urban Decontamination; Developments, Historical Examples and Lessons Learned},
author = {Rick Demmer},
abstractNote = {Recent terrorist threats and actual events have lead to a renewed interest in the technical field of large scale, urban environment decontamination. One of the driving forces for this interest is the real potential for the cleanup and removal of radioactive dispersal device (RDD or “dirty bomb”) residues. In response the U. S. Government has spent many millions of dollars investigating RDD contamination and novel decontamination methodologies. Interest in chemical and biological (CB) cleanup has also peaked with the threat of terrorist action like the anthrax attack at the Hart Senate Office Building and with catastrophic natural events such as Hurricane Katrina. The efficiency of cleanup response will be improved with these new developments and a better understanding of the “old reliable” methodologies. Perhaps the most interesting area of investigation for large area decontamination is that of the RDD. While primarily an economic and psychological weapon, the need to cleanup and return valuable or culturally significant resources to the public is nonetheless valid. Several private companies, universities and National Laboratories are currently developing novel RDD cleanup technologies. Because of its longstanding association with radioactive facilities, the U. S. Department of Energy National Laboratories are at the forefront in developing and testing new RDD decontamination methods. However, such cleanup technologies are likely to be fairly task specific; while many different contamination mechanisms, substrate and environmental conditions will make actual application more complicated. Some major efforts have also been made to model potential contamination, to evaluate both old and new decontamination techniques and to assess their readiness for use. Non-radioactive, CB threats each have unique decontamination challenges and recent events have provided some examples. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as lead agency for these emergency cleanup responses, has a sound approach for decontamination decision-making that has been applied several times. The anthrax contamination at the U. S. Hart Senate Office Building and numerous U. S. Post Office facilities are examples of employing novel technical responses. Decontamination of the Hart Office building required development of a new approach for high level decontamination of biological contamination as well as techniques for evaluating the technology effectiveness. The World Trade Center destruction also demonstrated the need for, and successful implementation of, appropriate cleanup methodologies. There are a number of significant lessons that can be gained from a look at previous large scale cleanup projects. Too often we are quick to apply a costly “package and dispose” method when sound technological cleaning approaches are available. Understanding historical perspectives, advanced planning and constant technology improvement are essential to successful decontamination.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Thu Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}

Conference:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

Save / Share: