On Wednesday morning, a four-person crew from SparkleWash of Puget Sound began washing the structure located on Pier 3.
"This is all mold and algae, and the way we're going to get it off is by shooting out our secret sauce and then flooding it with water," said James Pace, owner of the Mill Creek power-washing business. "This is the same stuff that grows on people's houses."
Lehigh Northwest Cement Co. in 2006 signed a 20-year lease with the Port of Everett to use the facility. With the poor economy, the cement company stopped using the dome to store cement powder three years ago, said Mike Bennett, terminal manager for Lehigh Northwest Cement.
The company still maintains a relationship with the Port of Everett and nearby residents, Bennett added. Last year, the Port of Everett received a few complaints about the dirty exterior of the dome and brought those to Lehigh Northwest's attention.
The cement company is paying SparkleWash about $14,000 to do the work, Pace said. It's the first dome that his company, a franchise of Sparkle International based in Cleveland, Ohio, has cleaned, he added.
"We do houses all the way up to big structures like this," Pace said. "We have done bigger jobs before."
Pace said he and his crew spent weeks preparing for what is expected to be about a five-day project. They tested their cleaning solution on a small part of the bottom of the dome and spoke with officials from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the city of Everett, and Everett Fire Department.
"We've had lots of safety training meetings just to make sure everyone knows their job," Pace said.
On Wednesday, Pace and his son, Ben, wore full-body harnesses as they worked 100 feet above the ground at the top of the dome. Pace used rope to pull a hose up the side of the building and sprayed a soapy solution on the dirty exterior. On the ground, lead technician Zack Schaeffer started to clean the bottom of the dome while Jeremiah Thomas, a water reclamation specialist, made sure water from the work was diverted into the sewer.
"We have to be real careful about where this water goes," Pace said. "None of it can end up in the (Puget) Sound."
A boom lift will be used next week to wash portions of the building that aren't reachable from its top or from the ground. The dome will receive some upkeep a couple of times this year so it won't need another deep cleaning, Bennett said.
"We'll be doing that afterward and hopefully we won't have to clean it again," he said. "It's going to be a good port for us once the economy comes back and we start getting busy."
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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