Aluminum, copper and stainless steel parts must be cleaned and degreased before they can be used under ultrahigh vacuum conditions at Brookhaven National Laboratory's major scientific research facilities. In the past, the Lab used caustic chemicals to clean these parts, but the cleansers had to be shipped off site as hazardous waste.
Now, in a new 1,000-square-foot degreasing facility, shown here being used by Jeffrey Raynor, a Lab employee and Manorville resident, environmentally friendly methods are used to clean these parts. Designed by Brookhaven staff with the aid of Dow Chemical Company's Advanced Cleaning Systems Division, the new facility uses strong soaps, mild citric acid, hot water and ultrasonics to degrease metal parts. This new facility not only makes for a cleaner environment, but reduces workers' exposure to toxic chemicals and avoids infrastructure corrosion and ventilation costs. The Suffolk County Department of Health Services approved the building plans for the new facility, and the U.S. Department of Energy gave Brookhaven Lab a pollution prevention award for its design.