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Power House Cont. - Mezzanine Level

The rather steep and slippery "ship's ladder" up to the mezzanine level.  Another potentially deadly obstacle to visitors of the Titan I complex.


Access to the mezzanine level was available only by the narrow steps, which on a number of occasions were wet with condensation making them even more treacherous than usual.  Here is a picture showing a nice, broad set of stairs with a gentle rise that was once located near the generators' switchgear.  This safer stairway was long gone when I arrived.


Construction photo: View from the mezzanine level and near the exhaust tunnel showing the missing staircase and the ice banks.


Another view of the "stairs" and the entrance to the powerhouse and a large NaOH (sodium hydroxide, aka: caustic lye) tank from the process water system (aka: water softener) in the foreground.  A silo gnome guide and his charge survey the area from the mezzanine.


The mezzanine level was chiefly populated by ancillary equipment, various water tanks, water pumps, fuel and lube tanks, compressors and the enormous ductwork that supplied outside air to the generators and the surrounding room.  Access to the air intake and exhaust tunnels was from the mezzanine level of the powerhouse to allow maintenance of the large and rather complex HVAC and exhaust  systems as well as air flow.


A construction photo of the entrance to the exhaust tunnel leading out and away from the Power House. The exhaust lines were 16" in diameter and were covered in about 3" of asbestos plaster insulation.  When this area was salvaged, the asbestos was simply torn from the pipes and left on the floor where it was ground to powder (it's most dangerous state) underfoot by the workers.  This photo shows the asbestos insulation partially installed.


Here you see the exhaust tunnel entrance as it appears today.  All the exhaust piping is gone, the railings removed and large holes are left open to the concrete floor below.  You might well imagine why traversing this area armed with a small flashlight could be unnerving.  One feature not visible in this picture was the condensation on most metal surfaces in this area.  Since the doors had been closed for some time the humidity inside 724-C was very high and with the temperature being around 55˚ F, water had condensed on most metal surfaces to make things even more hazardous.


The mezzanine level offered no end to life perils with its missing railings, open holes and segments of flooring given to pitching one way or another when stepped on.  The white material you see scattered about the opening is of course asbestos insulation.  Nowhere else in the complex was as contaminated with asbestos as the Power House.  The opening visible is the exhaust tunnel where heated air, diesel exhaust, steam exhaust and any other non-liquid effluent was purged from the Power House.


The power house dome was coated with a dark paint, likely to repel moisture from the surrounding earth.  I'm not sure why it is a dark color as you'd think the lighting would have been more effective with a more reflective color.  Maybe black was inexpensive...


A construction photo looking up towards the mezzanine level.  The 3 large tanks are "rust tanks" which were part of the process water system and removed iron and other minerals from the raw water.  Note the curve of the track for the central pivot crane at the top of the photo.  These tanks were apparently not considered terribly valuable as they were left behind by scrappers.


This photo shows the rust tanks in a present-day view (though not very clearly) and shows the added catwalk (not yet installed in the construction photo above) that allowed maintenance of the central pivot crane's hoist.  


This photo illustrates one of the many dangers of the power house: big holes in the floor with a 16' drop.  You can see the hangers for the cellulose sound attenuation panels and even a few lone survivors still hanging.  Exciting I know.


View from the mezzanine level looking toward the exhaust tunnel and diesel tanks.  The entrance is just barely visible in this shot.


View from in front of the aforementioned rust tanks, showing the central pivot crane arm extending to the upper left.  The silver structure midway up this photo is a massive duct that encircles the power house, running along the mezzanine and over to each voracious generator.  The duct is at its largest point is approximately 9' tall and easily wide enough for two or more people to walk side by side.  The ducting graduates down to about 4x4 feet before passing thru the mezzanine floor and branching off to the generators.


A view of the crane and lots of resilient sound baffles still hanging on.  An open concrete pad was provided near the ice banks for the movement of heavy equipment via the crane.  The hoist mechanism of the crane was attached to a truck assembly which allowed movement along the entire length of the arm and made it possible to hoist equipment and maintenance supplies to nearly any location in the power house.  This was fairly important since once it was completed, there was precious little room to move large equipment around.  Besides, who wants to schlep 55 gallon oil drums around on hand trucks over metal gratings thru a maze?


More remnants of the process water system.  You can see the holes left by smaller tanks the salvage contractor decided were easy enough to remove.  To the direct right of this shot lies the entrance to the air intake tunnel that supplied the generators and the power house.  You can see the large ducting at right and the maintenance access which has been opened.


One last shot of the mezzanine showing the floor grating and the opening to the power house exhaust tunnel.  A small set of steps leads up into the entrance.  This opening was once choked with the 16" diesel exhaust lines and a myriad of other exhaust lines and vents. 


That's it for the mezzanine.  From here you can check out the Air Intake or Exhaust tunnels or head back to the main tunnel junction.


Current Location: Power House Mezzanine Level

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