Containment Structure for Environmental Remediation in Busy West Coast City

Sunbelt Rentals recently completed a large environmental remediation project with a well-known environmental company to remove contaminated soil from a former manufactured gas plant operation in a busy West Coast city.

The Challenge

2015 was a memorable year for this bustling West Coast city. A massive environmental clean up effort began where a former gas plant once stood. A major power company owned the property. The purpose of the remediation--to remove contaminated soil and replace it with clean fill--would take many months to complete and involve complicated logistics stretching over acres of the property.

The large environmental company managing the excavation site work hired Sunbelt Rentals to provide a large temporary containment structure to facilitate the excavation work. Sunbelt Rentals was chosen because of our remediation credentials, the depth and breadth of our product line and our prior experience working successfully with this client.

The former manufactured gas plant had a large footprint. Therefore, the excavation involved multiple locations within the site and several challenges. The challenge of multiple locations was daunting enough, but additionally the site was right in the heart of downtown in a densely populated city! Furthermore, multiple dig locations posed yet another challenge, as Sunbelt Rentals' containment structure would need to be reinstalled at each excavation location. A negative pressure environment would also have to be achieved at each location to avoid contaminating the outside air once digging began.

Because of the project’s location, the Sunbelt Rentals installation team was tasked with minimizing disruption or distraction to the public and adhering to city noise ordinances and regulations each time the structure moved.

 The client’s needs included a structure that:

  • Included a large, fully enclosed tent to minimize dust and odor of excavation
  • Enabled the creation of a negative pressure environment inside the structure
  • Caused minimal disruption in a concentrated downtown area
  • Adhered to city noise ordinances and other regulations
  • Could be disassembled and reinstalled at multiple locations


The Solution

A  Sunbelt Rentals Tension Series (MTS)™ product proved to be the perfect solution for this project. This incredibly durable lightweight structure, built with an aluminum box frame, is engineered for fast installation, expansion and relocation. And the durable, high-quality fabric delivered the desired negative pressure environment. Another key benefit? The MTS structure can be installed on virtually any ground surface.


Sunbelt Rentals' Solution included the following features.

  • 132’ x 264’ –Sunbelt Rentals Tension Series tent with standard aluminum frame
  • Personnel and Equipment doors
  • 2 Ventilation fans
  • Galvanized steel stakes
  • 19 Trusses
  • 38 Truss plates
  • 14 Gable upright plates
  • Expert project managers, designers and an expert installation team

The Result

The installation of the containment structure spanned a two-week period in a densely populated area.

At one point, the team hit solid rock during the initial install. As a solution to this ground surface challenge, the Sunbelt Rentals crew secured the 132’ x 264’ structure with ballasts. The structure was successfully relocated and reinstalled it at two additional dig locations within the site.

The fabric successfully provided the negative pressure environment necessary for excavation of an organic compound with distinct and potentially noxious fumes. Once the enclosure was ready, the structure was outfitted with a large volume air scrubber that provided fresh air every 15 minutes inside the structure. Additionally a carbon filtration system made the air flowing outside the structure odorless and safe for breathing. Sunbelt Rentals added an additional couple of ventilation fans that brought fresh air inside.

Personnel and equipment doors made it easy for dump trucks to back into the structure and provided easy access for crew members working the site.

Sunbelt Rentals' ability to be flexible and provide containment coverage for the remediation project work was exactly what the client needed. The structure also served to diminish crowd curiosity that could have caused problems in such a busy downtown area.

The Takeaways

The owner of the excavation property won an internal award for how well this project was executed. Sunbelt Rentals is proud to have been a big part of that success.

At Sunbelt Rentals, we solve problems and we’re delighted that we have over 90 years of expertise and experience that enables us to help you change the world.

We look forward to helping you with your next environmental remediation project!

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Topics: Environmental Containment