The type of decontamination equipment, materials, and supplies are generally selected on the
basis of availability, the ease of decontamination, and disposability. Most equipment and
supplies can be easily procured. Some commonly used articles are:
Soft-bristle scrub brushes or long-handled brushes to remove contaminants;
Buckets of water or garden sprayers for rinsing;
Large galvanized wash tubs, stock tanks, or children's wading pools for washing and
Large plastic garbage cans or similar containers lined with plastic bags for the storage of
contaminated clothing and equipment;
Metal or plastic cans or drums for the temporary storage of contaminated liquids; and
Paper or cloth towels for drying protective clothing and equipment.
Heavy equipment such as bulldozers, trucks, backhoes, and drilling equipment are difficult to
decontaminate. Decontamination Pad design and construction should reflect consideration for
overspray and pad strength durability to accommodate heavy equipment decontamination. The
methodology generally employed involves washing the equipment on a sloped concrete or plastic
covered pad with a soapy water solution followed by a thorough water rinse. The wash and rinse
solutions are applied through the use of a high pressure spray unit. Particular attention should be
given to tires, scoop, and other components which directly contact the contaminated areas. Wipe
tests should be employed to determine the effectiveness of the decontamination procedure.
Protective equipment, sampling tools, and other equipment are usually decontaminated by
scrubbing with detergent water using a soft-bristle brush followed by rinsing with a copious
quantity of water. While this process may not be fully effective in removing some contaminants
(in some cases, the contaminants may react with water), it is a relatively safe option compared to
the use of a decontaminating solution. The contaminant should be identified before a
decontamination chemical is used, as reactions of the chemical with unidentified substances or
mixtures could be hazardous or more difficult to dispose. A decontamination solution should be
selected based on the recommendations of an experienced chemist.
10.5. STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES TO MINIMIZE WORKER CONTACT
The minimization of worker contact with contaminants during decontamination actually starts
with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Site workers who use general safe work practices
are less likely to be contaminated than site workers who do not use these practices. Workers can
take steps to minimize their exposure during decontamination through using contact
minimization techniques such as:
An outer layer of disposable clothing,
Encasing tools/equipment in plastic, and.
General safe work practices.