WIPP Workers Perform Filter Replacement

Radiological workers ready used filters for offsite disposal. Courtesy/WIPP
WIPP News:
As recovery operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant continue, increased work activity in the underground results in higher levels of airborne salt dust, increasing the frequency with which filters are replaced. Last week, workers performed a filter replacement on WIPP’s Underground Ventilation System.
WIPP’s ventilation system has two filter units. Each unit has 84 separate filters arranges in four layersmoderate efficiency filters, high efficiency filters, and two layers of HEPA filters. Last week, teams replaced high efficiency filters from both units. Frequent replacement is necessary because of reduced airflow due to buildup of salt dust.
During the filter change out, operations in the underground are temporarily suspended because of the reduction in airflow that is necessary while the filters were being replaced. Once removed, the filters 21 from each unit were surveyed for radioactive contamination. Filters exhibiting contamination are placed in thick plastic bags, which are then sealed and packaged for disposal at an offsite lowlevel radioactive waste disposal facility.
All air exiting the WIPP underground facility continues to pass through HEPA filters prior to being released to the environment. WIPP will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the filters and replace them as necessary.


The City of Carlsbad and DOE will cohost its Town Hall meeting featuring updates on WIPP recovery activities. The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7 in Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halagueno St. Live streaming of the meeting can be seen at http://new.livestream.com/rrv/