For the last three months or so, I've been helping out one of our Port districts with the cleanup of a biodiesel plant that caught fire and pretty much destroyed everything in the building. The Port owns property and leases land and buildings to industries, providing jobs and economic growth to their region. Washington State has 75 Port districts located throughout the state.
In this scenario, the Port had leased a former grain terminal to a biodiesel producer. One summer night, kids set a porta-potty on fire next to the building which spread to the roof that was covered by foam insulation. Everything inside the building was burned, baked, or smoked. When I first inspected the building, there was vegetable oil spilled all over the building's floor and still vegetable oil, biodiesel, and glycerol (a byproduct) held in a number of tanks, totes, and drums. Some of the remaining hazards were a stainless steel tank that held hazardous methoxide (a mixture of methanol and potassium hydroxide) used as a catalyst in biodiesel production. There was also a few sacks of potassium hydroxide laying around. Most of the vegetable oil, biodiesel, and glycerol was contained within the building with very little, if any, having leaked to the outside. These materials do not pose a significant environmental or human health hazard.
It was the Port's desire to get the building cleaned up, rebuilt, and leased out once again. Although my company can act as a general contractor, it was the Port's desire to have a third party do the cleanup oversight as owner's representative. The Port hired me to prepare an RFQ for the cleanup and demolition, conduct a job walk with contractors, solicit bids for the cleanup, evaluate the bids and provide a selection recommendation to the Port. I was happy that the Port decided to go with a local contractor who subbed with a reputable environmental contractor with a national footprint.
Once the cleanup was underway, I conducted an interim review of work progress. At the conclusion of the cleanup project, I conducted a final visual review and prepared a closeout report. The job went extremely well and I have some new regional contacts to pursue to potentially develop some new business.
At the start: