Project Name: Ft. Scott Wastewater Plant

Project Industry: Fire Restoration, Disaster Restoration

Client: Home Center Construction

Application: Baking Soda & Black Beauty Coal Slag

Size: 7,624 Sq Ft

Location: Fort Scott, Kansas


Exterior Before Soda Blast at Fort Scott Kansas Wastewater Treatment Plant


How much thought have you given to what you put down your drain? Everything that goes down your sink, toilet, or runs off your property all goes to the same place, the wastewater treatment plant. Luckily, we have facilities that filter through and treat all the debris that people discard and turn it into clean water.

In a small town, a little over an hour south of the Kansas City metro is the Fort Scott Wastewater Treatment plant that does just this for Bourbon County Kansas. They have processes in place that produces clear, treated water. They are then able to feed it back into the Marmaton River or sell it for industrial applications. They even take the solid byproduct of the process, which is very nutrient-dense, and use it to fertilize local farmland.

While Blast it Clean is unable to use the byproduct of our process for fertilizer, we are able to take a hazardous product and neutralize it so it can be properly disposed of without adding to the chemicals and hazardous waste products that are dumped into our sewage drains and landfills. This is just what the Fort Scott Wastewater Treatment plant needed to be done after one of its buildings suffered extensive fire damage.


Fort Scott is a historic town established in 1842 and they have many buildings that carry that history. The interior of the building that was damaged in the fire was covered in paint containing lead. That paint was now charred and needed to be removed in order to restore the facility.




Lead has been used as an additive in paint to speed up the drying and improve durability. However, due to the health and environmental risks, the United States prohibits the use of lead in paint since 1978. These same risks require a special process in order to remove and dispose of the paint. Blast it Clean is EPA certified to handle the removal of lead paint.

After verifying that the lead-based paint was active we set up strict containment and negative airflow. In addition to our normal safety protection during the sandblasting process, our team is required to wear full-body suits and proper respiratory protection for the removal of lead paint. Once suited up, we were then able to get to work using black beauty (coal slag) with Blastox® additive as our abrasive. Blastox® is a complex calcium silicate-based product that stabilizes heavy metals using pH adjustment, chemical reactions, and encapsulation.

The surface of the walls was brick so it was robust enough to handle the grit of the coal slag. The Blastox® neutralizes the lead to allow for disposal in a standard waste system. Before we completed the disposal, it was tested again to verify it has been neutralized to Blastox® standards and is deemed non-hazardous.

before fire restoration process at ft scott wastewater plant
After fire restoration process at ft scott wastewater plant site

As mentioned, there was more to this project than just removing the lead paint. The building had sustained fire damage so the next step was to remedy the remaining, soot, and char, and remove the burnt smell. For this, we used soda blasting on both interior and exterior walls.

Soda blasting is a safe and environmentally friendly method of cleaning. It uses sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda. This isn’t your standard kitchen baking soda, however. The crystals are larger and irregular-shaped. When this abrasive is applied with pressure from our soda blaster and hits the surface, it explodes. This leaves behind a clean surface and a fine powder.

ceiling of interior building with smoke and fire damage before fire restoration process
recently sandblasted ceilings and walls after fire incident and black beauty media in white bag

Baking soda serves as a deodorant as well as an abrasive. The particles of fire and smoke odors seem to settle deep into surfaces so they can be tough to remove. The soda absorbs the smell as opposed to covering it up. Since the fine powder left behind from the blast is water-soluble, we were able to finish the process with a thorough power wash. The end result was a clean and fresh building ready to be used by the people providing us with a clean and fresh water supply.

Fort Scott is very proud of its wastewater treatment plant. It has even won an award for the most outstanding plant in its size range for maintenance and operation from the Kansas Water Environmental Association along with an individual award for its operator at the time. Blast it clean is proud to once again be able to help restore a piece of this small Kansas town.

If you have a historic landmark that requires restoration, fill out the contact form here or give us a call at (877) 379-4233.

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