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Posted on May 17, 2015

A 500-ton recycling job

An 85-foot tall processing plant that has sat vacant for some 30 years in the middle of Quincy is being taken down one piece at a time — all 500 tons of it — so its steel structure can be recycled.
A crew started back in January working on demolishing the plant, built in the 1950s on Division Street East to process the white, chalk-like diatomaceous earth mined in the area. The property’s wooden structures were first removed. Then, in mid-April, crews began dismantling the impressive eight-story steel structure.
In another two to three weeks, the site should be cleared, said Peter Flynn, general manager of the Imerys Minerals Quincy operation, which now owns the property.
“It should be much more pleasing to the eye,” Flynn said.
The processing plant is being torn down because the empty building was not only an eyesore but it also was an invitation to potential wrong-doers looking for a “playground,” Flynn said.
“So far so good,” he said of the demolition. “We’re way over half-way done.”
Diatomaceous earth has long been mined and processed in the Quincy area. The building being torn down was built in the 1950s and then used for more than 30 years before a new operation was built in the 1980s at Road 10.5 Northwest, where Imerys Minerals operates today.
Dismantling the plant are Moses Lake Iron and Metal and Wenatchee Valley Salvage and Recycling, scrap yards owned by Tommer Equipment of Ephrata.
Tommer Equipment has been dismantling and then recycling steel structures like the diatomaceous earth plant for 60 years, said Kevin Running, the company’s manager. In fact, the company has taken down buildings that were made of as much as 900 tons of steel, he said.
Because the property is sandwiched between a heavily traveled road and the railroad tracks, much planning went into making sure the plant came down safely — and slowly, Running said. The plant’s pieces first are cut loose and then lowered to the ground by a crane.
The dismantled steel will be re-used in businesses around the globe.
“It will be sent to smelters around the world to be re-melted and turned into steel,” Running said.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,

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