Description: The water spray systems in high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter plenums that are used in nearly all Department of Energy (DOE) facilities for protection against fire was designed under the assumption that the HEPA filters would not be damaged by the water sprays. The most likely scenario for filter damage involves filter plugging by the water spray, followed by the fan blowing out the filter medium. A number of controlled laboratory tests that were previously conducted in the late 1980s are reviewed in this paper to provide a technical basis for the potential HEPA filter damage by the water spray system in HEPA filter plenums. In addition to the laboratory tests, the scenario for HEPA filter damage during fires has also occurred in the field. Afire in a four-stage, HEPA filter plenum at Rocky Flats in 1980 caused the first three stages of HEPA filters to blow out of their housing and the fourth stage to severely bow. Details of this recently declassified fire are presented in this paper. Although these previous findings suggest serious potential problems exist with the current water spray system in filter plenum , additional studies are required to confirm unequivocally that DOE`s critical facilities are at risk.
Date: January 1, 1997
Creator: Bergman, W.; Fretthold, J.K. & Slawsld, J.W.
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