Isolated in the deep remote abyss of the heavily wooded Pacific Northwest Cascades of Washington State, lies a pristine water treatment facility near Lake Chelan. The facilities sole purpose is to contain and treat water in surrounding streams and creeks. The Holden Mine Water Treatment Plant Project is a brand new plant constructed at an abandoned copper mine which treats water before being dispersed back into the environment. The plant utilizes lime slurry to adjust pH levels of the water coming through the facility.
Four Hydrated Lime Silo Systems were supplied to the remote facility miles away from the hustle of motorized vehicles, and sprawling metro cities which permeate much of the coast’s fertile landscape. The isolation of the location itself contributed to many unique and unprecedented logistical challenges.
Difficulties amassed not only in getting equipment to the site, but, once onsite there was very limited access to anything which would normally assist in logistical routing, installation, and safety. However, a small village nestled into the fragmented landscape nearby made for some great coordination efforts to pull off the project.
Only accessible by water; it is a harrowing twenty-five mile trip, via ferry, where a lonely service road winds up a steep valley to the old copper mine, which is overshadowed by the rugged mountain peaks.
While the location alone presented its own challenges for delivery, it was mother-nature which fractured from the destitution of complacency rearing an ugly face as a wildfire broke out near the site the same week Velodyne was scheduled to ship the site’s very first silo. Fortunately, a repugnant adversary rebutted an unsavory course and the site averted a mere disaster. This resulted in a six week delay; the entire site and nearby village were evacuated for safety reasons. With the equipment and work site spared, operations once again resumed.
Velodyne ’s original plan was to ship one silo per week for four weeks. However, with the six week delay, a new plan was hastily put into place to accommodate the customer’s needs. Each silo was shipped in three day increments, reducing the time of the total shipment from four weeks to just twelve days!
Four, sixty-eight foot high, lime silos were transported via twelve Low Boy tractor trailers from the sprawling plains of the Central US to Washington State. Each silo system was assembled on-site in four sections; because, some silo sections were shorter four tractor trailers were loaded with two silo sections each. The remaining eight tractor trailers were loaded with one silo section each. Sixteen silo sections were then off loaded by a crane at a holding yard in Chelan, WA, where they were loaded onto rugged trucks designed to make the difficult journey. There are no roads which lead directly to the job site. Therefore, all trucks were loaded onto barges and floated up Lake Chelan to the landing site approximately twenty-five miles away. The frigid barge ride up the lake took four hours. From there, each was trucked another ten miles through nine switchbacks up the rugged mountains to the isolated job site, with an elevation change of five thousand feet from lake to final destination.
The lime storage silo sections were again off loaded from the trucks, and set into place one section at a time. The individual sections weighed between ten and twenty thousand lbs. each. Once assembled each silo reached a majestic vertical height of sixty-eight feet.
Velodyne Systems worked hard to procure a custom design and deliver a quality product outfitting each silo to the specific needs of the customer. Each custom hydrated lime silo has been assembled with an enclosed roof section and four piece split. Velodyne normally designs silo systems in two sections, storage and equipment room separate. However, this two-piece design provides a solution which allows for the equipment to be installed and tested upright in-house, without delays, in a “weather-free” environment. During installation within the equipment room, all piping and conduit were ran under the floor grating, against the silo wall, or overhead on the feeder bridge to reduce trip hazards for operators leaving the storage system spacious and well organized for operation.
A four section assembly brought into account some other design features that were out of the ordinary. During the winter months, the weather in the mountains involves a lot of snow. Therefore, an enclosed sloped roof was installed to protect the roof mounted equipment from the environment. This section of the silo system was also outfitted at Velodyne ’s facility completing the installation of all roof mounted components which are normally installed on-site.
This was also the first time a split storage section has been provided, due to a shipping restriction of 40 ft. maximum length. Normally, the sections are welded together and have a smooth interior finish. However, these sections had flanges in them; instead of putting them on the inside where product could build up on the sides, they were designed with external flanges and bolted together on-site. Each flanged section had one-hundred ninety-eight bolts, or seven-hundred ninety-two bolts per silo.
Velodyne was able to deliver the silo systems before the frigid winter months hit. The mountains have year round glacier ice, and during the winter months can have upwards of five feet of snow at any given time. Needless to say there are a lot of potential dangers this could bring for operation of the site. Velodyne ’s Field Service Technician, Ian Reddick, was on-site this past January. The area was so remote that he had to be provided with a satellite phone for communications. There was so much snow that everyone on-site had to go through mandatory avalanche training. Ian stated, “Each person on-site was assigned to a group of people and every group had one locator beacon in case of an avalanche.” Ian reported, “We slept in twin sized beds. There were small living quarters on-site.
Each lodge had twenty-two rooms. Around forty people reside at the nearby village year round, which is one mile from the job-site.” At one point, there were as many as five hundred workers on-site. In all, Ian traveled via plane, rental car, taxi, fairy, and even took a bus to get to the job-site. As you can see from the pictures someone had some bad luck as snow crushed the top of a work truck.