Specialty: Public and private sector hazardous waste remedia- tion
Two significant projects at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation have kept RCI Environmental on the go. The most significant is the $34 million environmental restoration disposal facility waste transportation project.
“We’ve been Bechtel’s transporter of low-level radioactive waste since 1996, and we’ve hauled over 3.5 million tons coming off the banks of the Columbia River from former reactor sites,” said RCI Environmental President Peter Wold. “We’re extremely focused on safety. We’ve done it without any recordable injury or traffic accident.”
Wold said RCI’s logged 6 million highway miles with the radioactive waste, and will continue hauling through 2004 and possibly longer. The soil and debris being hauled are remnants of the famous 1940s Manhattan Project.
Another Hanford project for RCI is the $7 million 100 B/C pipeline removal project. RCI is removing the former reactor cooling water piping from the 100 B and 100 C reactors, where the first bomb dropped on Japan was manufactured. RCI will remove 5 miles of 66-inch cooling water piping — which is radioactive on the inside and coated on the outside with asbestos, Wold said.
“There are very stringent safety procedures,” he said. “We’ve worked out there for over a year in very difficult conditions — from extremely hot to extremely cold, without even a first aid injury.”
On the west side of the mountains, RCI Environmental’s Cascade Pole project involves excavating and dredging 36,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments at an Olympia site. The excavations are backfilled with sand during the same tide cycle to prevent sloughing of sediments into clean excavations. The $4 million project is almost complete.
While Wold said business has been good in recent years, the market has gotten tougher. “The number of projects for environmental firms has continued to diminish over the last few years,” he said. “It’s been made tougher by the bonding and insurance market.”
The amount of RCI’s public and private work varies — some years there is a 70-30 percent split, and other years just the opposite, he said. Increasingly, he said the firm is leaning toward “one-stop shopping” opportunities, such as design/build projects and brownfield projects where RCI participates in the purchase, clean up, development and re-sale of a property.
RCI Environmental is a stand-alone corporation that is part of RCI Construction Group. The environmental division has been in existence since 1990.
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