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May 26 - May 30, 2014

When animal fat in slaughterhouses penetrates concrete surfaces, how do you identify and remove the contamination before coating the concrete?

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Selected Answers

From Jim Johnson of CHLOR*RID International Inc. on June 4, 2014:
When we were a coating application contractor, we worked on numerous floors in dairy milking barns and meat packing plants. We tried many type of degreasers and found none of them adequately removed the fat. Several times, we were sure all the fatty materials were removed, only to find a couple months after coating application that the coating began to degrade and looked like swiss cheese with holes in it, and it became rubbery. What we eventually found was that the fatty material had penetrated 3 to 4 inches into the concrete, and there was no viable way to remove it. Bacteria-based cleaners would take months to work, and no one would take the facility off line long enough to do it. The best advice I can give to a contractor contemplating such a job is RUN, do not walk, away as fast a you can go! The only other option would be to remove and replace the top 4 inches of concrete or just pour a new slab on top of what it is there.

From Timothy Knell of Shore Corporation on May 30, 2014:
Since the fats are normally solid rather than liquid, a typical surfactant-based degreaser (normally used on liquid oils) will not be very effective unless very hot water is used. A strong alkaline degreaser  will convert much of the fat into a soluble surfactant that helps remove the rest. If scheduling permits, a bacteria-based cleaner that eats oils and greases can biodegrade the deeper soils as they try to migrate to the surface. Under ideal conditions dramatic results can be seen in 1 to 2 days.

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Tagged categories: Concrete coatings and treatments; Surface preparation

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