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Properly Decontaminating Augers In Environmental Drilling Projects

In almost all projects, the drilling team will set-up some form of decontamination pad. This is a designated flat area where all equipment will be cleaned. The pad must have an impermeable liner to capture the water and detergents used in the cleaning process.

The augers and tooling is placed on or above the cleaning pad. It needs to be elevated far enough above the pad to prevent contaminated water from splashing back up on it. This usually happens on saw horses or other portable stands.

What can I use to decontaminate augers?1158849.jpg

A high-pressure steam washer is brought on-site to help with the cleaning process. The machine must be able to create 2000 psi of force and heat water to 200 degrees or above.

Approved phosphate-free detergents also need to be available for making cleaning easier and more thorough.

Alconox is a powdered precision cleaner specially formulated to not leave a residue behind.

Dawn is another acceptable detergent. It is a concentrated form of the dish detergent found in many kitchens.

How are the augers decontaminated?

When the drilling equipment arrives on site or comes out of a borehole, the cleaning methods are the same.

The equipment is placed over the decontamination pad. Any loose material is washed off, with the help of a brush if needed. The steam cleaner is brought in to remove the deepest dirt. The cleaning detergent is used to clear away any remaining residues. A final rinse is the last step. Once the cleaning procedure is complete, the equipment is removed from the decontamination pad and stored in unused plastic until its next use.

All cleaning/rinse water is pumped out of the containment pad and placed in containers for proper storage. The decontamination pad is deactivated at the same time. If the decontainment pad has leaked, soil sampling of the area may be necessary.
The drilling company may also have a self-contained decontamination trailer. The decontamination trailer will have a heated pressure washer, rotating auger rack and a holding tank for the rinse water. These types of trailers are very useful on drill sites with limited work areas.

Why must an auger be cleaned before each use?
When an auger is being used in environmental drilling projects, it is critical that the equipment be clean to keep samples clear of contamination. If the drill team does not use appropriate cleaning measures, it can render the project data unusable. That drives up expense and destroys the project timeline.

If you need environmental drilling services, contact Talon/LPE. We offer drilling services throughout Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, and safety is our No. 1 priority. 

Topics: Environmental Drilling