RMC specializes in the management of reactive and explosive materials and devices and other high-hazard materials, such as compressed gas cylinders, perchloric acid fume hood decontamination, and laboratory chemical management. Examples of this work include:
- Remote opening and sampling or treatment of drums and small containers
- Identification, packaging, transportation, and disposal of explosive and reactive materials
- On-site treatment or disposal of explosive and reactive wastes through chemical treatment or open burn/open detonation
- Management of high-hazard materials, such as chloropicrin (sometimes mistakenly called "tear gas") in old safes
- Management of other unusual materials, such as bird droppings
COMPRESSED GAS CYLINDERS
Reactives Management has safely managed more than 10,000 compressed gas cylinders, specializing in the management of cylinders with unknown contents such as those which are typically found in scrap metal yards or old landfills, as well as those that wash up from the ocean or were involved in a fire.
The first step in abandoned cylinder management is a thorough evaluation to determine the condition of the cylinder and to make a tentative determination about the gas likely to be contained in the cylinder. Once the identification is made, one or more viable management options can be determined. Typically, cylinders can be transported for disposal or recycling or can be vented, treated, or otherwise managed on-site, depending on several factors such as state and local regulations, type of gas, and condition of the cylinder.
EXLPOSIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT
RMC can evaluate and develop a safe management plan for explosive, reactive, and other high-hazard materials such as picric acid, ethyl ether and other peroxide-forming materials, fireworks, laboratory chemicals, elemental metals, pyrophoric materials, and similar materials that pose a hazard to personnel, property, and the environment.
For example, aged, degraded peroxide-forming materials are unstable and pose a potential explosive hazard. Due to their condition, it is not safe for personnel to manage these wastes using traditional methods. Additionally, waste in this unstable condition is not safe or legal for vehicular transportation; therefore, it cannot be moved from the site until it is treated. Reactives Management can normally perform remote opening (as necessary) and on-site chemical treatment of these materials. In cases where the wastes are extremely unsafe and pose a hazard to RMC technicians or are not amenable to chemical treatment, the waste can be destroyed by open burn or open detonation techniques.
PERCHLORIC ACID FUME HOOD DECONTAMINATION
Perchloric acid should never be used in chemical fume hoods which have not been specifically designed for that purpose. These specially-designed fume hoods have a built-in wash down system, which, if used in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, will prevent of the build-up of dangerous perchloric acid salts.
Fume hoods contaminated with perchloric acid pose an explosive hazard and should be decontaminated by persons with the knowledge and experience to safely manage them. Explosions caused by mismanagement of perchloric acid-contaminated hoods have resulted in personnel injury and property damage ranging from minor to catastrophic. Two examples of explosions are below.
- On January 15, 2003, an explosion occurred during a perchloric acid reaction in a University of South Florida campus fume hood. The reaction process contained just five grams of perchloric acid. It is believed that the incident was caused either by the concentration of the heated perchloric acid mixture, or by contamination of the stock solution.
- On February 20, 1947 at 9:45 a.m. PST, an explosion demolished the O'Connor Plating Works in Los Angeles, CA. At least 15 persons were killed and hundreds were injured. Fire Chief John Alderson said a solidly-built six-story building across the street absorbed most of the concussion, preventing the blast from leveling the entire block.
Cries could be heard from persons trapped in the wreckage. Some of the victims were literally blown to bits. Their remains were unidentifiable. Windows two miles away were broken. The reverberating roar and blast shook homes more than 15 miles from the scene.
Property damage amounted to $1,000,000 (in 1947 dollars) and possibly may double that. The one-story O'Connor electroplating works was virtually disintegrated. A dozen homes in the same block were demolished. A total of 300 buildings were demolished or damaged.
RMC has decontaminated nearly 400 fume hoods over the past 30+ years at or for the following organizations:
- Becton Dickinson & Company
- Cornell University Medical Center
- DSM Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- General Services Administration/US FDA
- Georgetown University
- Globe Metallurgical, Inc.
- Hazleton Laboratories
- Norfolk Naval Shipyard
- Perdue University
- Pharmavite, LLC
- Procter and Gamble
- University of Kansas Medical Center
- University of Pennsylvania
- Virginia Tech
UNEXPLODED ORDNANCE (UXO) SUPPORT
RMC provides location and removal or destruction of UXO in support of construction, clearance, and sampling projects. Reactives Management has been involved in the recovery of UXO at private facilities and at numerous military bases in several states, including work at Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG) and an underwater operation at the former Charleston Navy Shipyard in Charleston, South Carolina.
Please contact us for additional information regarding the management of explosive or reactive materials or waste.