Department of Energy

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

Carlsbad, New Mexico

Replace Public Announcement and Alarm System

Project Objective

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) was designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left over from the research and production of nuclear weapons. This objective of this project was to design a public address and alarm system for both surface and underground to replace the existing system at the WIPP site.

Unique Project Features

The existing system was near the end of its intended design life and had specific concerns including inaudible or incoherent announcements in numerous surface locations, emergency strobe lights which were not visible at all underground locations, a lack of backup power to system components rendering the existing system inoperable during a power loss and multiple speaker malfunctions and failures throughout the existing system.

Encorus Group Solution

Working closely with prime contractor CMX Services, Encorus Group delivered a design which included provisions for three major site expansions. The new system encompasses a total of nearly 1,000 speakers, amplifiers, and handsets across the site, as well as over three miles each of fiberoptic and ethernet cable.  The system utilizes one GAI-Tronics designed control panel and 28 control panels designed by Encorus. The “hyperspike” speaker array on the roof of one site building is rated at a maximum of 143 decibels and is designed to be audible and coherent from over a mile away in any surface direction.

Specific Project Tasks

  • Site visits to gather data and assess needs
  • Selection and development of the PA architecture with GAI-Tronics
  • Demonstration and testing of speaker and PA system technologies at site
  • Calculation of audio performance of the system for best intelligibility of messages
  • Development of construction drawings, reports, and specifications
  • Engineering support for installation from construction through commissioning