Soil Solutions Cleans Up Contaminants With John Deere

Thu December 11, 2003 - Southeast Edition

With a fleet of John Deere equipment, Soil Solutions Inc. (SSI) is cleaning up what people leave behind –– thousands of cubic yards of contaminated soil.

The Winston-Salem, NC-based environmental service firm specializes in excavating, transporting and remediating petroleum and non-petroleum contaminated soils that can pollute the water table. The company has commercial, government and private customers throughout North and South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee.

SSI primarily treats contaminated soil in its 30,000-sq.-ft. soil treatment facility where it employs microorganisms, such as bacteria, to degrade contaminants in the soil through a process called bioremediation. In order to accomplish this, SSI creates a potent mixture by isolating and stimulating the bacteria that are used to break down the contaminates in the soil. The mixture is applied to the soil under controlled conditions in the facility and may remain there for a few weeks to a few years, depending on the contamination level and type of soil.

SSI relies on a wide range of John Deere equipment to excavate, load, transport and remediate soil both at the company’s remediation facility and at locations where the contaminated soil originates.

When SSI receives the contaminated soil by dump trucks, trailers, roll-offs or drum containers, it uses a Deere 544H wheel loader and a Deere 260 skid steer to move the soil around the treatment facility. The heavy equipment carries the soil to a screener where debris is removed. As it comes off the screener, the soil is automatically sprayed with bacteria. Three-hundred tons (272 t) of similar contamination can be remediated at any one time, according to Tom Hammett, SSI vice president.

Once the microorganism mixture is applied to the contaminated soil, the soil is continuously monitored until it meets government standards. To meet these standards, the soil may be re-screened, which will aerate the soil and oxygenate the bacteria. When remediation is complete, the soil is often used on highway projects and other construction jobs.

When moving soil off site is not required, SSI often uses its patented mobile thermal soil treatment facility in which contaminants are mobilized out of the soil. In the low-temperature thermal desorption process (LTTD), two 6, 8, or 16 cu. yd. processors that are sealed during the processing of soils are mounted on a 40-ft. trailer located on the project site. The processors, which together are known as the LTTD unit, pass steam through the soil, mobilizing the contaminants that accumulate as condensation in a separate tank. Once the soil is processed completely, it may be used as fill on site or removed.

At various off-site locations, Soil Solutions’ crews commonly use a Deere 200LC excavator, which does a range of jobs including digging trenches for pipe, removing and disposing of underground storage tanks and excavating contaminated soil. The company also uses a Deere 650G LGP dozer and two Deere 300 series backhoes.

“Most of the work we do can be accomplished with [the excavator],” said Hammett, who purchases SSI’s Deere equipment from James River Equipment in Greensboro, NC.

“James River’s customer service is great. They’ve bent over backwards to help me, responding to my questions in ways that I don’t get other people to respond,” said Hammett. “They’ve helped me spec out equipment based on our applications –– the sales team is never in and out of here in five minutes.”

Founded in 1991 by Hammett and Tony Disher, president, SSI has grown from offering thermal remediation solutions to a range of treatments for hazardous and non-hazardous soils. Having grown to a staff of 16 employees, the company is well known for its hydrocarbon contaminated soil solutions and also its line of industrial, environmental and remediation services.

For more information, call 336/725-5844.