Environmental cleanup demands new technology
Vancouver company has begun using its proprietary technology for the first time commercially to remove polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from a contaminated site in Delta, and if successful, it will send a loud message that B.C. is at the leading edge of site remediation technology. In early spring 2005, eight flatbed trucks carrying the components of Sonic Environmental Solutions Inc.’s latest industrial-scale sonic generator moved onto a site owned by Juker Holdings. After assembly and testing, the plant began operating, and Sonic president and CEO Adam Sumel is confident that by the time the contract is finished, the PCB levels in 3,000 tonnes of heavily contaminated soil will be reduced to two parts per million or lower — and not a single particle of soil will have left the site. Chemically inert, electrically nonconductive, and with low volatility, PCBs were most commonly used as insulation and coolant in industrial electrical transformers and capacitors. In the 1960s, realization began to dawn that the factors that made PCBs useful also made them lethal and, because they don’t break down, incredibly persistent in the environment. PCBs also accumulate in living organisms, concentrating as they move up the food chain and causing cancer and affecting the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems.