Priority Environmental Services, now merged with Earth Services & Abatement, forming one of the largest abatement, demolition, and remediation firms in the nation, has begun asbestos mitigation efforts at the former Vought Aircraft Plant in Grand Prairie, TX. Vought is under abatement and demolition to make way for Home Depot’s largest lease and distribution facility—occupying 2 million square feet of the 315-acre site. DGIC, LLC/Northpoint Development is the project owner. The $2 million abatement effort began in 2017 and is expected to be completed by June of 2020.
Vought occupied the Aircraft plant near Dallas from 1940-2012. According to 1 Priority CEO Gary Caldwell, “The site, now called Dallas Global Industrial Center, was first built for armament construction for World War II. The plant was home to the construction of the historic and contemporary military planes such as the B-1 bomber, F-22 Raptor, and parts for commercial aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and 777 over the course of its 72-year stay. At its prime, the plant employed over 29,000 people.
“Although this is our first collaboration with Northpoint Development, 1 Priority and its owners have performed asbestos abatement, mold remediation, and hazardous dust decontamination work at this facility since the early 1990’s when it was owned by LTV, Vought Aircraft and Triumph Aircraft. Our record of work here made this massive, $2-million abatement project a natural progression,” said Mr. Caldwell. 1 Priority has currently abated the asbestos from 83 of the 157 buildings on the campus and is slated to abate the balance before the end of 2020.
According to Heath Watson, Executive Vice President, Field Operations for 1 Priority, current abatement work includes the removal of asbestos-containing materials from up to 157 buildings that were previously used for offices, manufacturing, storage, and hangars. “This is a huge project, demanding a lot of coordination among various contractors. The owner, American Brownfield/Northpoint Development, gave us the sequence of the buildings to abate, and our crews are moving through one building at a time to allow for the demolition contractors and reclamation crews to get in as soon as they can to the abated building as we move on to the next. All work is being performed in a fast track manner to meet the construction schedule. There are only so many ants you can have on the hill at one time, and depending on the building being abated, 1 Priority will have anywhere between 10 and 40 crew members working at one time.
The fast track abatement schedule by 1 Priority was immediately followed by demolition of the structures. Demolition also included salvage of remaining equipment and recycling of metals.
“Because this is an industrial site, there are additional safety measures we follow explicitly,” said Mr. Watson. “Our crews are always wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) comprised of disposable Tyvek suits and respirators with the appropriate filtration based on the materials being abated. Other safety and protective equipment required for this project includes fall protection harnesses with retractable lanyards, high visibility vests, hard hats, steel toe boots, hearing, hand and eye safety devices. The engineering controls necessary for the containment of asbestos debris needed for this multi-building abatement project differ based on the type of materials being abated and their use within each building. For example, water piping covered with asbestos insulation is contained and abated inside glove bags.
Highly skilled Priority 1 asbestos abatement technicians performed “glove-bag” abatement of insulated piping within the manufacturing buildings scattered across the property.
Boiler insulation, fireproofing, large areas of walls, ceilings and flooring need to be abated inside full, negative pressure containments, which include multiple layers of poly sheeting on all interior, and sometimes exterior building surfaces. For this type of work, an even higher level of respiratory protection equipment is required for our employees. In addition, each time they exit these full containments, they are required to shower out through a three-stage wet decontamination chamber.
In addition to the flooring, fireproofing, walls, and ceilings that required abatement within the interior of the buildings, thousands of feet in asbestos-insulated piping was removed from tunnels and pipe racks that connected each building.
Nick Crawford of DGIC/Northpoint Development said, “1 Priority was a developer’s dream on this project. Abating asbestos is just one of those things that you sometimes have to deal with but would rather not because it’s just not an easy task. I spoke with 1 Priority’s Heath Watson around once a week and they had maybe 25 guys working at a time. Their level of speed and efficiency was exactly what I needed. They made that part of my job seamless, keeping my headaches to a minimum. Out of 157 buildings, 132 of them contained asbestos in some form. Heath did a fantastic job helping me manage the job, having his guys jump around from building to building, working with other contractors so that I could keep my focus on other timely matters.
“At the height of the remediation, I got a call from the TAHPR (Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules), our state regulatory agency. They were not happy with the previous owner’s testing, which we were using as our baseline in the remediation effort. 1 Priority immediately brought on an analyzer who did a clean sweep of the buildings. This could have been a nightmare, but Heath and his crew had a letter sent out to TAHPR within two days, avoiding critical delays. The crews also had to follow NESHAP (National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) guidelines. With the regulatory agencies’ approvals in place, we haven’t heard another word from them. I credit 1 Priority for making this difficult job an easy one for me.”
1 Priority CEO Gary Caldwell said, “1 Priority takes regulatory compliance and safety seriously and is very proud to have zero lost time injuries for the past 17 months. With thoroughly documented safety training and current safety plans, plus membership and participation in various safety networks, 1 Priority has the ability to qualify to work for the nation’s leading companies. The company holds safety as its highest priority.”
The company recently merged with Earth Services & Abatement (ESA), enlarging the its footprint into national proportions. The merger makes ESA/1 Priority a Top Five Abatement Firm by Revenue in the U.S, according to Engineering News Record. Under the merged entity, both firms will maintain current operations and leadership, with Gary Caldwell remaining as CEO of 1 Priority and Kory and Kristian Mitchell as Co-Presidents of ESA.
The merger of the two firms allows turnkey asbestos and lead paint abatement, demolition, mold remediation, soil remediation, and water remediation services throughout Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. Demolition services are also provided by ESA in all of these states except Texas and Louisiana. “This merger allows both firms to tap into additional resources and expertise that will lead to better service and turn-key operations for our clients,” said Kory Mitchell.
1 Priority has tremendous market strength in Texas and Louisiana for abatement services and we look forward to expanding our geographic reach in water and soil remediation. Our alliance creates a premier platform with offices in Denver (Colorado), Des Moines (Iowa), Casper (Wyoming), Rapid City (South Dakota), Omaha (Nebraska), Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Gatesville, and Lubbock (Texas), as well as Shreveport and Baton Rouge (Louisiana), and Atlanta (Georgia) as of March 2019.
About Earth Services & Abatement
For more than 35 years, Earth Services & Abatement has been the leading environmental remediation and demolition firm serving the Rocky Mountain and Midwest Regions, offering a full range of services including asbestos and lead abatement, water and soil remediation, structural demolition, hydro-blasting and coating removal. Maintaining licenses and certifications in 34 states, ESA has successfully completed more than 10,000 projects ranging in size from $5,000 to over $20 million. Since 2017, ESA has been ranked among the Top 10 Asbestos Abatement Firms by Engineering News Record. For more information, visit www.esasite.com.
About 1 Priority Environmental Services
1 Priority Environmental Services is a leading provider of abatement, indoor air quality and decontamination services for asbestos, lead-based paint, and other hazardous materials. 1 Priority serves a broad range of industries, including commercial, industrial, infrastructure (e.g., roadways & bridges), military/governmental, aviation, education, and healthcare. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, 1 Priority operates through multiple locations serving the Southern United States. For more information about 1 Priority, visit www.go1priority.com.