Friday, October 30, 2009

Helicopter lifts in September

The lead paint remediation around Swallowtail lighthouse and the old light keepers house foundation is now complete. The last of the contaminated soil was removed September 14 and 15. We had asked our contact at Fisheries and Oceans in charge of the cleanup if it would be possible to remove some of the larger items from the property while the Canadian Coast Guard helicopter was on site. We were pleasantly surprised when the answer was yes. We were able to coordinate the removal through CleanEarth Technologies, the company contracted to do the soil cleanup and had sent two of their staff to the site during this latest soil removal. These were the large white bags that were sitting beside the light house. Most of the bags had been removed earlier in the summer but these hadn't been removed until September because the CCG helicopter was unavailable for the work.

Helicopter sitting on helicopter pad next to the lighthouse:

Helicopter over the lighthouse during a lift:

A number of us went out to organize what was to be lifted off, including the old oil tanks, furnaces, a water heater and other items from the basement of the keepers house, the demolition debris from the southern end of the boat house and the scaffolding used during painting the keepers house. The old furnaces hadn't been used since the lightstation was destaffed in 1985 and had originally been coal burning and were convert to oil. Electric heat had been installed when the keepers house was used as a bed and breakfast.

Staging and bags with building debris ready to go. Cargo net has yet to be filled:

CleanEarth Technologies brought 2 large bags, similar in size to the ones used for the soil and the helicopter crew had 2 cargo nets. We filled the bags the first day and moved all the scaffolding to one location. During this time, one of our volunteers organized getting the large items out of the basement which was fully accomplished the second day and everything loaded into cargo nets or hooked together with straps.

Moving the oil tank out of the basement:

The helicopter arrived in the afternoon of Sept. 14 and moved a number of soil bags to the staging area at the old airport at Hole-in-the-Wall park. The following day, the rest of the bags were removed and then it was time to lift our stuff. The soil will be removed from the island and decontaminated.

Hooking up a bag filled with contaminated soil to be lifted by helicopter to the old airport at Hole-in-the-Wall Park:

Contaminated soil bag in the air. Some of these bags weighed over a ton:

The two bags were lifted first at the end of a 100' cable, then the scaffolding and one of the cargo nets, then the tanks and furnaces and then the last cargo net. It took only 6 minutes from the time the bags or nets were attached to the cable until the helicopter was back for the next load so we had to work quickly and it was why we had to have everything prepared. We also had two people at the old airport to help the CleanEarth technologist unhook and remove the items from the cargo nets. It was amazing how smoothly everything went.
Scaffolding and cargo net attached to helicopter hook ready to be lifted, the helicopter engineer is overseeing the lifting:

Hooking up second cargo net to be lifted by helicopter:
Here is a video of getting one of the cargo bags ready to be lifted by the helicopter:
Material at the old airport after being lifted off the peninsula by helicopter:

We would like to thank all our volunteers, the Canadian Coast Guard helicopter crew and CleanEarth Technologies and their crew. Trying to get this material up the stairs manually would have taken a lot more effort, people and time than with the helicopter.

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