The closure process can be roughly divided into three major categories: Human Relations, Public Relations and Technical Issues. This article only focuses on the physical aspects of the closure process, recommending a compilation of the “best practices” that have been developed through a coordinated effort among mill personnel, contractors and consultants during the course of plant closure operations. With three decades of investment recovery experience and the opportunity to learn from the closure of three West Coast pulp mills, it became apparent that there are certain logical and well-defined processes and procedures that can greatly reduce the risk of injury to personnel and prevent both environmental and physical damage to property. I have divided the technical issues involved in plant closures into five arenas:
1. Pre-Shutdown Management
2. Contractor(s) Selection
3. Contractors’ Pre-Work Planning
4. Investment Recovery Management
5. Operations Management
Pre-shutdown management may be best described as a closely coordinated effort among the various departments of the closing facility to develop a road map to be used as the plant moves from a production mode to shut down and cleanup modes. During this period, teams are assembled, budgets are developed, scheduling is determined, and a quality control plan for initial and final cleanup is devised. Every phase of the project must be planned carefully to avoid safety, environmental and cost-overrun issues.
department to provide quality processes and best practices during the organization and project development stages.
Develop a physical inventory of all assets. This list will be used to initiate an internal and external marketing program. It will also serve as a means of removing all sold, scrapped or demolished assets from the books.
A. The use and/or return of chemicals, raw materials.
B. The return of spare parts and materials to vendors.
C. The evaluation of equipment and supplies that may be redeployed to other company facilities.
D. The termination of utility and transportation contracts.
E. The development and implementation of cleanup procedures before operations employees leave.
F. The use of outside contractors for specialty cleanups.
G. A plan for the management of wastewater treatment through closure.
H. A long-term storm water surface drainage plan.
Contractor selection should be made as early as possible so that the input of those who will be doing the work can be incorporated into the overall planning. Utilizing specialty contractors to assist in the budget planning process has proved very important for managing the expenses of a closure. Hiring a contractor with experience in dealing with all aspects of a facility closure can greatly reduce both the safety risks and the potential environmental problems inherent in such work.
A. Safety management
B. Asbestos abatement
C. Other hazardous materials removal
D. Dismantling and salvage of equipment to be sent to other facilities or to be sold
E. Temporary and permanent utility modification and terminations
F. Demolition of above-grade structures and buildings
G. Demolition of foundations, underground structures and utilities
H. Site grading and drainage
The Contractor’s Pre-Work Planning process is extremely important to the safe, efficient and environmentally sound disposition of facilities being shuttered. The major elements that need to be addressed prior to commencement of contractor’s operations are:
B. Regulatory coordination
C. Safety coordination
D. Work plans
owner, consulting firms and the contractor to work together to avoid mistakes, which could result in long delays.For example, if test drilling is required to establish the possible presence of subsurface soil contamination, then the contractor must plan its activities to allow for such testing. Permits that may be expected to be required for a closure and subsequent demolition include: demolition, excavation, grading, asbestos abatement, lead abatement, underground tank removal, shorelines, storm water, wetlands, air quality, sewer and electrical. Some of the permits may require public meetings and a public comment period before being issued.
- List of key personnel
- Hazard assessment
- Emergency response procedures
- Hazard communication plan
- Employee training plan
- Fall protection/prevention plan
- Fire protection/prevention plan
- Confined space entry plan
- Asbestos abatement plan
- Lead exposure/control plan
- Water safety plan
- Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
removal; foundation demolition and site grading; and, over-water demolition. The work plans covering environmental work were usually prepared for the owner by environmental consultants with input from the contractor and incorporated into the overall SSHASP and work plans. Environmental work plans for the mills under discussion included asbestos abatement, lead abatement, removal of litharge containing mortars (in digesters), PCB cleanup and petroleum cleanup. It is important to remember that the methods set forth in the work plans should be followed closely so that everyone involved with the project knows what to expect. Any agreed-upon changes can be incorporated into the work plan as an amendment.
IR practitioners are well aware that there are several choices available for managing the investment recovery process. It can be achieved through any of the following processes:
The final step is the very important task of operations management. Once all of the various plans for investment recovery, safety, environmental cleanup and demolition have been approved, it is time to do the work and keep everything moving forward according to the schedule and in compliance with the approved plans.
responsible manner while maintaining cost control and maximizing investment recovery. The end result should be a piece of real estate clean and ready for future use or sale. I have been involved in over 140 plant and production line closures, each with its own unique challenges. Some of the methods used for the closing of the three pulp mills discussed in this article–particularly the use of a single contractor–may not be appropriate for your project. But regardless of the number of contractors involved, the overall success of such an operation is dependent upon the following ‘best practices’ for
1. Detailed pre-shutdown planning and management.
2. Quality Contractor(s) Selection.
3. Credible and reliable contractor’s pre-work Planning.
4. Organized and strategic investment recovery activities.
5. All work closely coordinated with ongoing operations management.