It’s not every day that a 200-ton visitor rolls 65 miles across back roads and over bridges in northern Louisiana with the help of a 9,000-pound all-terrain forklift.
But when a 180-foot long by 27.5-foot wide cylindrical burn chamber was needed to dispose of 15.8 million tons of highly combustible artillery propellant at Camp Minden near Shreveport, LA, the forklift was used along with a host of other specialized equipment and vehicles to transport the massive unit.
Built in Oklahoma, the chamber was barged down the Arkansas River to the Mississippi River and up the Red River in Louisiana. It was off-loaded from the barge at the Natchitoches Parish Port and onto a specially built trailer with 96 self-leveling wheels that could be independently turned to get around curves and over road rises. Pushed and pulled by two semi-trucks, the chamber was led and followed by a parade of 30 police cars, utility linemen who removed low-hanging cables from across the roads, state highway officials, a 9K forklift and two light towers.
Camp Minden was the site of a former manufacturing plant which made artillery and mortar shells during World War II and the Vietnam War. When the plant closed, the remaining chemicals and propellant were improperly stored and some of it leached into the ground water. The area was listed as an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site in 1989 after the groundwater contamination was discovered. In 2012, when an explosion of the unstable propellant shook windows four miles away and shot a mushroom cloud 7,000 feet high, the government realized that there was a problem and determined that the chemicals needed to be disposed of.
Initial plans called for an open burn, but local residents rallied to prevent the potentially toxic gases from being released into the atmosphere. The EPA determined that the safest disposal method was an enclosed burn chamber that would scrub the air of pollutants before releasing into the atmosphere.
The forklift, which was part of the parade from the port to Camp Minden, was rented to take wooden pallets off the back of a flatbed and set them on the road’s shoulder. The trucks and trailer hauling the cylinder partially pulled off rural roads at night, rolling over the pallets which kept the rig from sinking into the soil. The light towers illuminated the chamber from both ends at night, enabling vehicle drivers to safely pass by, as well as for the haulers to visually monitor the rig.
The burn chamber and other equipment completed the four-day journey at Camp Minden on February 11, 2016 without mishap. The
$34 million environmental mitigation project is expected to start later this year.
Neff Rental was the only equipment rental company on the haul job. Whether moving a 200-ton burn cylinder or other bulky equipment for short or long distances, call Neff Rental to discover how we can help you with by providing quality and reliable equipment that will help you complete your job on time. Local branches can be reached at 888-709-NEFF or found online at www.NeffRental.com .