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DOE-EM-STD-5503-94
10.0. DECONTAMINATION
10.1. BACKGROUND
Decontamination involves physically removing contaminants from personnel and equipment
and/or chemically converting them into innocuous substances. The extent of decontamination
depends on a number of factors, the most important of which is the types of contaminants
involved. The more harmful the contaminant, the more extensive and thorough the
decontamination. The combination of decontamination, correct donning of protective clothing,
and zoning of site work areas, minimizes cross-contamination from the protective clothing to
wearer, from equipment to personnel, and from one area to another. Only general guidance can
be given on methods and techniques for decontamination. The exact procedure is determined by
evaluating a number of factors specific to the incident and/or site. The site should refer to the
DOE Radiological Control Manual for detailed radiological decontamination requirements.
The requirements and procedures need to be addressed and implemented for both chemical and
radiological contamination. For the purpose of this document, a Radiological Area should
generally equate to an Exclusion Zone, a Radiological Buffer Area should generally equate to a
Contamination Reduction Zone, and a Controlled Area generally equates to a Support Zone (see
Table 9-1). Contamination of personnel, equipment and/or material can occur from both a
radiological and hazardous material. When decontamination is required in such areas,
procedures should be developed which will accommodate both contamination types and
minimize the amount of mixed waste.
The overall objectives of the Decontamination chapter are to:
Determine and implement the decontamination methods for personnel and equipment that
are effective for the specific hazardous/radioactive substance(s) present,
Ensure the decontamination procedure itself does not pose any additional safety or health
hazards,
Provide pertinent information on the locations and layouts of decontamination stations
and equipment,
Establish procedures for the collection, storage and disposal of clothing and equipment
that has not been completely decontaminated, and
Provide for the periodic evaluation of the plan against the existing site hazards.
10.2. GENERAL CONSIDERATION
The HASP should specify the level of decontamination necessary for personnel and equipment at
the site. The decontamination plan for personnel and equipment is based on the assumption that
all personnel and equipment leaving the Exclusion Zone/Radiological Area (area of potential
contamination) are grossly contaminated. The plan includes a system for washing, and rinsing, at
least once, all of the mechanical and protective equipment until they are decontaminated. If
10-1


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