Posted on 09/07/2016 at 2:03pm

Agrium’s Vanscoy Potash Operations (VPO) mill has been in operation for nearly 50 years and currently produces 2 million tonnes of potash per year. As potash is a corrosive product, inspection and repair of existing infrastructure is a top priority to ensure the continued safe operation of the facility and extend the service life of the mill.

Agrium Floor Repairs

Agrium floor repairs

Agrium produces, markets and distributes nitrogen, phosphate and potash products for agricultural and industrial customers around the world.

CWA has been involved with Agrium VPO’s mill infrastructure integrity program for several years, beginning with a major project for the inspection and repair of the wet milling facility in 2013. CWA conducted a structural review and repair design for the retrofit of the existing concrete floor systems in the building to provide an additional 20-year lifespan to the mill.


CWA completed inspections of steel, concrete and composite systems on each floor of the building. Representative thickness measurements on structural steel members identified levels of corrosion, and concrete sounding identified delamination. CWA coordinated the removal and testing of samples from the concrete floor.


Following the inspections, CWA prepared a condition report identifying areas of both the concrete floors and the existing structural steel below the floor system that required repair or replacement. CWA developed conceptual repair options, followed by a detailed repair and rehabilitation plan for Agrium to extend the service life of the floors.
Based on drawings provided by Agrium, CWA developed a structural model of the facility to quickly locate and assess individual structural members based on current code requirements. Alternative materials, such as cadmium plated bolts, used in the repair design provide improved protection against corrosion. The design also included efficient steel/concrete composite systems, and innovative steel repairs, resulting in time and cost savings.


As part of the repair plan, CWA developed a comprehensive construction plan. Key design personnel were on site during construction to provide technical support to complete the work within a planned plant shutdown window. During the shutdown, other work was also being conducted in the facility, which meant that the existing maintenance hoists were unavailable for the work. To facilitate the repairs, CWA designed a temporary monorail to lift materials into the building through an opening in the wall cladding.
Throughout the repairs, CWA’s on-site engineers provided technical support and conducted structural steel inspections and repair designs on the same day to remain on schedule.


Following the successful completion of the wet milling building repairs, CWA has continued to provide inspection, design and repair services throughout the mill.
Taking a collaborative and responsive approach to working with Agrium from our Saskatoon office, CWA’s engineers have worked closely with Agrium’s local team to prioritize inspection findings, standardize repair plans, minimize disruption to operations and coordinate with contractors to avoid construction delays.

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