Effective Mercury Abatement

The challenge

A major electric power plant in Oregon had air-borne and surface concentrations of mercury exceeding clearance levels. The plant's objective was to effectively remediate the mercury contaminated areas to clearance levels for both building and equipment surfaces, as well as ambient vapor concentrations.

The project challenges were:

  • A major challenge was that management wanted to complete the abatement activities during the full operation of the facility.

  • What was needed was an experienced crew that could work in areas of high-electrical energy, and with the time frame of a detailed abatement schedule.

Veolia’s solution

Veolia North America’s hazardous materials and industrial cleaning groups partnered to create a solution for the client that included both project management and abatement execution. Abatement work cost-effectively leveraged several crews from different locations with a wide variety of specialized experience to the project. And, through strict adherence to health and safety standards, Veolia personnel worked over 10,000 hours without a safety incident during operations around energized components, elevated work and confined space operations.


  • Veolia provided deliverables such as a Site Health and Safety Plan, a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP), a Contingency Plan, a Pre-Abatement Assessment Report and the final Post-Abatement Assessment Report.

  • During the abatement activities, each work area was secured and contained using the latest equipment and technology to prevent cross-contamination, with strict personnel and equipment decontamination protocols to prevent the spread of mercury or asbestos.

  • Building contents, including expensive electronic components, were meticulously tested for mercury presence, staged and then decontaminated and cleared for use by the power plant, or disposed of according to their level of mercury contamination.

  • Detailed waste characterization and segregation was maintained, ensuring regulatory compliance and cost-effective waste disposal, all while allowing the power plant to remain a safe generator of a small amount of hazardous waste.

  • ​Post-abatement mercury and asbestos sampling was conducted in each area to verify successful decontamination.


During the course of the project, Veolia’s systemic abatement approach provided our customer with the confidence to expand the scope of the project with six change orders. Additional abatement activities were also completed during the first phase, which had been originally scheduled as future projects.

"Five Veolia locations with expertise in mercury abatement and recovery operations collaborated on one integrated project. We were able to collectively use the individual strengths of the Veolia personnel to provide a cost-effective solution to the customer. We demonstrated a unified team and level of expertise that none of our competition can offer." 

—Kevin Shaver, Project Manager, Veolia North America