How much thought have you given to what you put down your drain? Everything that goes down your sink, toilet, or runs-off your property all goes to the same place, the waste water treatment plant. Lucky for us, we have facilities who filter through and treat all the gunk that people discard without a care and transform it into clean water.

In a small town a little over an hour south of the Kansas City metro is the Fort Scott Wastewater Treatment plant that does just this for Bourbon County, Kansas. They have processes in place that produce clear, treated water. They are then able to feed it back into the Marmaton River or sell for industrial applications. They even take the solid byproduct of the process, which is very nutrient dense, and use it to fertilize local farmland.

While Blast it Clean is unable to use the byproduct of our process for fertilizer, we are able to take a hazardous product and neutralize it so it can be properly disposed of without adding to the chemicals and hazardous waste products that are dumped into our sewage drains and landfills. This is just what the Fort Scott Water Treatment plant needed done after one of their buildings suffered extensive fire damage.


Removing the Toxicant, Restoring History

Fort Scott is a historic town established in 1842 and they prefer to preserve and restore their historic structures when possible. The interior of the building that was damaged in the fire was covered in paint containing lead. That paint was now charred and needed to be removed in order to restore the facility.

Lead was previously used as an additive in paint to aid in reducing dry time and improving durability. However, due to the health and environmental risks, the United States has prohibited the use of lead in paint since 1978. These same risks are the reason a special process is required in order to remove and dispose of the paint. Blast it Clean is EPA- certified to handle the removal of lead paint.

brick building with smoke damage

After verifying that the lead-based paint was active, we set up strict containment and negative airflow. In addition to our normal safety protection, our team is required to wear full body suits and proper respiratory protection for the removal of lead paint. Once suited up, we were then able to initiate removal using black beauty (coal slag) with Blastox® additive. Blastox® is a complex calcium silicate-based product which stabilizes heavy metals using pH adjustment, chemical reactions, and encapsulation.

The surface of the walls was brick so it was robust enough to handle the grit of the fast cutting coal slag. The Blastox® neutralized the lead to allow for disposal in a standard waste system. Before we completed the disposal, we did an additional test to verify it had been neutralized to Blastox® standards and deemed non-hazardous.


So Fresh and So Clean

As mentioned, there was more to this project than just removing the lead paint. The building had sustained fire damage so the next step was to remedy the remaining, soot, char, and remove the burnt smell. For this, we used soda blasting on both interior and exterior walls.

Soda blasting is a safe and environmentally friendly method of cleaning. It uses sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda. This isn’t your standard kitchen baking soda, however. The crystals are larger and irregularly shaped. When this abrasive is applied with pressure from our soda blaster and hits the surface, it explodes leaving behind a clean surface and a fine powder.

Baking soda serves as a deodorant as well as an abrasive. The particles of fire and smoke odors settle deep into surfaces so they can be tough to remove. The soda absorbs the smell as opposed to covering it up. Since the fine powder left behind from the blast is water soluble, we finished the process with a thorough power washing.

before and after cleaning smoke damage

The end result was a fresh and clean building ready to be used by the people providing us a fresh and clean water supply.

Fort Scott is very proud of their waste water treatment plant. It has even won an award for outstanding plant in its size range for maintenance and operation from the Kansas Water Environmental Association along with an individual award for their operator at the time. Blast It Clean is proud be able to help restore a piece of this small Kansas town.