The state-of-the-art sandblast and paint building VT Halter Marine has agreed to build will be integrated to allow within its walls complete surface preparation and final painting of unassembled ship sections.
The idea is to keep emissions out of nearby neighborhoods and waterways, something VT Halter has been called out for by the state.
VT Halter CEO Paul Albert told the Sun Herald on Wednesday the company is on track with the $7.5 million project, even though it missed state Department of Environmental Quality deadlines in 2015 and 2016. The company also lost a $1.9 million state grant to help with the cost and has seen a major reduction in employees in recent years.
Tom Rigolo with VT Halter engineering said the huge building will have a flow-through configuration with a blast booth that can recover the steel grit it uses, and a separate pressurized paint booth. Each will be 100 by 125 feet. The overall building will be 39,000 square feet. At 65 feet tall, it would be able to accommodate huge pieces of ship for sanding and painting.
Rigolo explains how it will work:
▪ The air from the blast booth would be filtered through 64 filters then recirculated into the booth. Blast air would not have an exhaust to the outside.
▪ The paint booth would use high-efficiency, pressurized filters that automatically shut down the painting when they are full, so no paint particles would be released outside.
▪ It is designed to operate in all weather conditions.
▪ It uses variable-speed blowers and all-LED lighting to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
Rigolo said VT Halter has signed a contract for the equipment with Blast One International of Columbus, Ohio.
The contract drawings for the building are in the final stages of preparation, and he expects the building drawings would go out for bid within the next two weeks.
“Completion of the facility is expected in the early fall of 2017,” he said.
That means the company will need to persuade the DEQ to move the deadline one more time from July, where the state said it stands now, in order to avoid a $500-per-day fine.