MIEES is Completed!

Columbia Energy’s Engineering and Fabrication team completed design, fabrication, testing of the Mobile Instrument/Electrical Skid (MIEES) for Savannah River Remediation (SRR).  The MIEES is a module skid that interfaces with the Saltstone Dipsosal Unit (SDU 6) currently being built at the Savannah River Department of Energy Site in Aiken, South Carolina. 

The MIEES provides electrical power service and fiber optic network to the 210Z-ICR Distributed Control System (DCS) to operate pumps, valves, take thermocouple readings and control camera systems for the SDU 6 Mega Tank.  The MIEES contains the DCS panel, Motor Control Center, transformers and power distribution panels for the system mounted on a modular and mobile roofed structure.  In addition to the MIEES, Columbia Energy procured and fabricated junction boxes and a remote level switch that will be installed at the SDU 6facility.

The MIEES is equipped with lighting panels and 120 VAC receptacles.

Columbia Energy is proud to have completed this critical component for SRR with efficiency and timeliness.  The MIEES arrived at the Savannah River Site 8 days ahead of the contractual date.

The client was very pleased and overall satisfied with the final project.  The MIEES has been installed at the SDU 6 facility and is scheduled to operationally tested with the entire system in early October 2015.

Columbia Energy Fabrication Team Finishes Work on the AY-102 Splitter Box

Columbia Energy’s Fabrication team has just completed fabrication, testing, and delivery of the AY-102 Splitter Box for Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS). The Splitter box is being installed between AY-102 and AP-102 inside Hanford’s AY Tank Farm to support waste retrieval activities from AY-102.

The splitter box allows selection of any combination of sluicers and facilitates simple and efficient routing of waste through the transfer line to allow retrieval of the waste. The Splitter Box also provides pressure monitoring, flow monitoring, and flow control (all of which can be observed from the POR399-WT-TRLR-001 control trailer). Double valve isolation is provided on the slurry and supernatant manifolds to isolate all possible flow paths from one another. The POR385-WT-DB-001 Splitter box also serves as one of the collection points in the system for leakage channeled by the secondary HIHTL encasement. Leak detection located in the box will set off alarms and shut down the transfer pumps upon the accumulation of liquid in the box. A sump pump is installed in the box that can be used to pump any liquid accumulation into the valve manifold.

This is the second splitter box that Columbia Energy has fabricated for WRPS but this fabrication included 4” thick shielding walls and lid and is 16’ 9” long by 9’ 6” wide by 4’ 10” tall without the handrails and stairs. The last splitter box had  3” thick shielding walls and lid and was 11’ 9” long by 7’ 0” wide by 4’ 10” tall without the handrails and stairs .

Columbia Energy is proud to have completed this critical fabrication for WRPS with efficiency and timeliness. The splitter box shipped within a week of the due date despite critical GFE showing up 2 months later than requested in the proposal.

The client was very pleased and overall satisfied with the final project:

“Congratulations on a job well done!!  We appreciate the focus and dedication of the team members on both sides of the contract!  We could not be successful without this kind of performance!” –  Joan M. Connolly, AY-102 Recovery Project

Click here for more information on Columbia Energy's Fabrication and Machining Services. 


In May 2015, Columbia Energy finished a unique fabrication project: The Cowlitz Rotary Screw Trap (RST). The screw trap is used to catch, examine and analyze juvenile fish. In October 2014, Columbia Energy was contracted by the Tacoma – Power Generation. The Cowlitz RST is placed in the lower Cowlitz River to evaluate the abundance of all hatchery and natural-origin salmonids and to collect genetic samples from natural-origin Chinook proportional to their weekly outmigration abundance. The Cowlitz RST also determines the migration timing and speed of the Cowlitz Salmon and Cowlitz Trout hatchery smolt releases, and evaluates the hatchery-origin smolt predation on naturally produced salmonid juveniles.

“Basically we want to know what the juvenile Chinook are doing in the lower Cowlitz River, and are the hatchery fish eating the natural-origin (wild) fish,” said Mark LaRiviere, Senior Fisheries Biologist for Tacoma Power.

The Beginning of the Cowlitz Rotary Screw Trap

The Tacoma Power sent Columbia Energy a cellphone picture of the blueprint of a similar pontoon boat built in the 1970s. From there, the Columbia Energy Fabrication Team had to piece together the design to build something that functioned to the expectations of the client.

Columbia Energy was very proud to have been given the opportunity to finish such a unique project. Most commercial pontoon boats are about 12-feet wide, making it insufficient for the scope required by the Tacoma Power Fisheries. The Tacoma Fish Trap designed and built by Columbia Energy is 15,500 pounds, 40 feet long and 15 feet wide. Columbia Energy designed and built the deck, arches, nose cones, tables, and the boat. The project started in October and shipped in May.

“We bid on the fabrication of a pontoon boat, but we agreed instead of fabrication job it had to be a design-build project, so it progressed from the initial scope,” said Frank Dunn, Director of projects at Columbia Energy, “it was also unique in that it was done with aluminum welding, they hadn’t seen fabrication of the quality we were able to produce so we were extremely happy.”

For more information on Columbia Energy Machining and Fabrication services visit http://www.columbia-energy.com/services/fabrication-and-machining/.


Here at Columbia Energy, we encourage our employees to make safety a priority in any task they are engaging in. Whether it is through an anonymous suggestion or face-to-face interaction, we want our staff to feel comfortable addressing issues and recommending solutions to our safety committee and manager. Having a safety program with open communication is necessary in order for us to improve and maintain a safe working environment.

Recently, there was a safety concern regarding the shared and opened doorway between our fabrication room and machine shop.  Due to the welding, grinding, and sanding the noise in the fabrication area was affecting the machinists. Interestingly enough, mechanists rely on their hearing to help them when performing their tasks. With the loud noises from the fabrication shop, it was difficult for the machinists to safely and effectively perform their job. Along with the noise, the dust from the fabrication shop was altering the safety of the machinists too. The concern was expressed to the safety manager, which was then brought to the company safety committee. Shortly after the issue was brought to their attention the problem was addressed by adding industrial PVC door strip curtains to the fabrication shop. By installing the curtains in the doorway between the two shops the machinists were able to safely and effectively perform their duties without the distractions. The curtains help keep out the dust and muffle the incoming sounds tremendously, keeping the machine shop much quieter.

This is a great example of how Columbia Energy handles employee safety. We try to address any concerns or issues as quickly as possible to ensure a safe workplace at all times. We encourage all of our employees to be pro-active in finding ways to make their jobs as safe as they can be.

For more information on Columbia Energy’s safety culture click here.


RICHLAND, WA — Columbia Energy and Environmental Services in Richland, WA has successfully achieved the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Sections I, VIII Div. 1 and Div.2, National Board (NB) and “R” Certificates of Authorization for the fabrication and repair of boilers and pressure vessels and pressure-retaining items.

The ASME BPVC Certification Program conforms to the rules governing the design, fabrication, assembly, and inspection of boiler and pressure vessel components during construction.

“It was definitely a team effort because it takes the participation and effort of our engineers and fabrication managers here at Columbia Energy,” said Paul Hale, Construction and Fabrication QA Manager for Columbia Energy.

Division 1 provides requirements which apply to the design, fabrication, inspection, testing, and certification of pressure vessels operating at either internal or external pressures exceeding 15 psig.

The Div. 2 certification shows that Columbia Energy is able to meet more demanding requirements on materials, design, and non-destructive testing than those in Division 1.

This achievement ensures to our customers that Columbia Energy’s engineeringmanufacturing, and quality systems meet ASME’s stringent requirements. The certification is given to companies that can prove superior levels of due diligence and ensure highest level of quality and manufacturing processes.

Customers can be assured that all our boilers and pressure vessels are manufactured with the highest quality and attention to detail. This means all products are designed to code calculations and documentation to customer’s specifications is provided.


Dr. Steve Agnew, Principal Scientist at Columbia Energy, presented a research paper entitled, “Solubility Predictions for Sodium Nitrate from Water Activity for Hanford Tank Concentrates” at 2015 Waste Management Conference (WMsym.org), which is held annually in Phoenix, Arizona.

High-level waste tank space at Hanford Site is at a premium and evaporation campaigns regularly recover vital space by concentrating dilute waste. Prior to each evaporator campaign, assays of a boil down of a sample of tank liquid provide a planning basis for the evaporator campaign.

Although there are many well-established techniques for calculating electrolyte solubilities, or making solubility predictions, the complexity of Hanford electrolyte mixtures has proven challenging for such predictions.

About Columbia Energy – Solubility Predictions for Hanford Waste Tanks

Columbia Energy and Environmental Services (CEES), a woman-owned Tri-Cities engineering company has developed a novel approach for solubility predictions that promises to minimize the effort associated to sampling the waste before each evaporation campaign. The research is led by Dr. Agnew and consists an Excel spreadsheet model that conducts solubility predictions consistent with those obtained by concentrating the radioactive waste samples.

Accurate solubility predictions of water activity for these concentrates provides an alternative method for calculating solubilities and this work along with previous work has validated a relatively simple spreadsheet model for predicting the water activity of even these complex electrolyte mixtures.

Dr. Agnew’s research on solubility predictions for sodium nitrate (NaNO3) as well as other electrolytes ofHanford Tank concentrates has the potential to save Hanford considerable amounts of money and time. More accurate predictions for solubility mean fewer resources are needed for sampling and assay.

“The bottom line is Hanford has collected a lot of data on boiling down of tank waste before each evaporator campaign,” said Dr. Agnew, “one of the goals of the solubility model is to create a waste processing tool that will minimize that testing.”

“When you gain confidence with the tool and avoid additional sampling, that means you save those precious resources for other efforts,” said Dr. Agnew.

For more information and for all media related requests please contact Columbia Energy and Environmental Services.


Protege Company Expands Capabilities

A new facility just north of the Office of River Protection office building is now available to test tank waste retrieval technologies and train operators. Constructed by WRPS protégé company Columbia Energy and Environmental Services (CEES), the Columbia Energy Test Center is located on Salk Avenue in the Port of Benton’s Richland Innovation Center just east of Stevens Drive, and north of the Office of River Protection office building.

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