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1930-1950's Industrial Transformers

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    1930-1950's Industrial Transformers

    I've got some huge transformers part of a mini-substation on a commercial property. 6' or more tall. I think they are manufactured somewhere between 1930 and 1950. They are about to be retired within a month.

    Through a friend of friend type deal I was told they contain 10's of thousands in copper. I was also told by someone else they could contain PCB's. I'll add photos and see if I can find model numbers.

    How would you approach this to get them gone and make some money doing it?


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    Talk to the scrap yard you frequent the most and see if they will buy them as is........Honestly without pics hard to give a good answer

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    I would bet the farm that they ARE PCB filled. If there's any way to walk away from them, that's what I'd do. If you're the new owner of this commercial property, sucks to be you.

    Contact your state's environmental agency and find out how much their removal & disposal is going to cost you.
    Out of clutter, find simplicity. --Albert Einstein

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    Just an opinion, but, the first question i would ask is if the transformers are an asset or a liability.

    Gather as much information as you can about the risks -vs- expected return and then make a good business decision on that basis ?

    Looked into the EPA regs and it's too complicated to wrap my head around. From what i can gather ... it could blow back on both you and the property owner if the transformers aren't properly recycled. I mean ... you would think it's someone else's problem once the scrap yard bought them ? It doesn't work that way though. Once you own them ... you are financially responsible for what everyone else on down the line does with em'.

    That seems like a possible risk.

    Edited to add:

    These guys seem like they could be a big help with risk management.

    https://www.easternenvironmental.com...ling-disposal/
    Last edited by hills; 08-31-2019 at 02:40 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by auction View Post
    I've got some huge transformers part of a mini-substation on a commercial property. 6' or more tall. I think they are manufactured somewhere between 1930 and 1950. They are about to be retired within a month.

    Through a friend of friend type deal I was told they contain 10's of thousands in copper. I was also told by someone else they could contain PCB's. I'll add photos and see if I can find model numbers.

    How would you approach this to get them gone and make some money doing it?
    if they do contain pcb's your gonna have to build a giant metal drip pan going into a 55 gallon drum or bigger, take everything apart over the drip pan, build a chemical bath for them to go into, and then chemically clean every part. then scrap the metal, and take the pcb contaminated fluids properly marked with class 9 hazmat to a hazmat guy like mentioned above. also the small transformers i took apart were only 17% copper. so if the transformer itself is only 1,000lbs, 170lbs roughly will be copper if the big ones are the same percentages. i couldn't tell you if they are or are not because i never did one bigger than my 6 inch vise. I've done thousands of pounds of small ones though. so if its 170lbs and you get $2 a pound for the number two copper thats $340. plus the 800lbs of steel at 3 cents a pound i believe everyone is saying so $24. so $364 if these things weigh 1,000lbs and are the same ratio of copper as the small ones. but you will then have to dispose of the hazardous waste if there is any. if there is no hazmat in them you will get close to the above mentioned price. if there is no hazmat in them take the steel housing away and cut all your wires. pull the core out which is where the copper is. old ones like that may be copper wrapped around a steel plate. cut the copper best you can and pull it away from the steel. you'll probably need a big grinder at minimum to do it efficiently or a whole lot of 4.5" blades. possibly a plasma or concrete style demo saw. definitely not in the 10's of thousands like you were hoping for. unless the core itself is that 6' tall. even then you would need a semi truck and massive forklift to move the thing as to even get $10,000 in todays market they will be close to 30,000lbs. if they are indeed 17% copper.

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    I've never seen ones with coils that slide off that easy but you get the point. if those are pcb's though which if theres oil your's probably are, since they were made before pcb's became illegal you need to do more to clean it up. like find what ever chemical the EPA wants you to use and soak everything in it after draining. then drain again. and probably do that 2 or three times using at least two different barrels. one for pcb, the other for chemical mess. gigantic pain in the ****. If your transformers were made after a certain date the oil is probably mineral oil or some or of silicon. i forget the date off hand but i think its somewhere in the 70's or 80's they made the switch over.

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