Rocky Flats Plant,
HAER No. CO-83-AB (Rocky Flats Plant, Building 778)
Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, Highway 93, Golden, Jefferson
County, Colorado. Building 778 is located in the northeast quadrant of the Rocky Flats
Plant between Buildings 776/777 and Building 707.
This building is a primary contributor to the Rocky Flats Plant
historic district, associated with the U.S. strategy of nuclear military
deterrence during the Cold War, a strategy considered of major importance in preventing
Soviet nuclear attack. Building 778 was constructed in 1957 as a support facility for the
700 Complex plutonium production buildings. It was used to launder the white clothing and
respirators required to be worn by plant employees. All employees, except those working in
low contamination areas such as the laboratories, were required to wear this protective
Building 778 is a long, thin rectangular building connected to
Buildings 776/777 and Building 707 by corridors. The building has a reinforced concrete
slab foundation with corrugated metal and concrete block exterior walls. Interior walls
are constructed of concrete, concrete block, gypsum board on metal studs, and ceramic
tile. The roof is metal. It is a one-story building encompassing approximately 31,200
Building 778 houses laundry facilities as well as showers, locker rooms, sanitary
facilities, electrical, machine, sheet metal shops, and inert gas storage.
Building 778 is traversed by an overhead sealed chain conveyor used for transport of
radioactive material between Buildings 777 and 707. The chain conveyor is under negative
pressure to prevent leaks into the building.
Building 778 was constructed in 1957 as a support facility for the 700
Complex plutonium production buildings. It was used to launder the white clothing (coats,
pants, hats, underwear, socks, and booties) and respirators required to be worn by plant
employees. All employees, except those working in low contamination areas such as the
laboratories, were required to wear this protective clothing.
Originally, Buildings 771, 881, and 991 had their own laundries, with Building 442
laundering the clothing from Building 444. After Building 778 was constructed, laundry
from these four buildings was washed there. After 1976, when Building 442 was turned over
to the Filter Installation Group, all laundry on the site was handled in Building 778.
Building 778 went out of service in 1991, with all laundry being processed through
Laundry personnel washed, sorted, mended, folded, checked for contamination, and
redistributed company-supplied clothing to locker rooms throughout the plant. The clothing
consisted of undershirts and shorts, socks, coveralls, shop coats, booties, caps, and bath towels.
The laundry processed approximately 125,000 to 150,000 pounds of clothing each month. The
laundry equipment included three 400-pound-capacity washer-extractors and six
Decontaminated respirators were also cleaned in Building 778. Half-mask respirators
were cleaned and dried in a spray-type washer with a steam-heated drying hood. Full-face
masks were washed in a converted 100-pound-capacity clothes washer and dried in a
50-pound-capacity dryer with the tumbler removed.
The exhaust air from all clothes dryers and washers was exhausted through a
high-efficiency particulate air filter plenum. The exhaust stack downstream of the filters
was routinely checked by radiation-monitoring personnel for any possible plutonium
release. Laundry water was sent to the forced evaporation operations in Building 374.
Prior to Building 374 becoming operational in 1980, laundry water was sent to Building 774
second-stage aqueous waste operations and then through the evaporator located there if the
radioactivity of the water was above 1,667 picoCuries per liter. If radioactivity was
below this level, the wastewater was sent to Pond B-2. When the plant first began
operations, laundry wastes were discharged directly to North Walnut Creek.
Colorado Department of Health. Project Tasks 3 & 4 Final Draft
Report. Reconstruction of Historical Rocky Flats Operations and Identification of Release
Points (1992), by ChemRisk. Rocky Flats Repository. Golden, Colorado.
Hackman, Laverne, employed at the plant since 1985 by the site contractor. Personal
communication, November 12, 1997.
Lily, Chris, employed at the plant since 1990 by the site contractor. Personal
communication, November 12, 1997.
United States Department of Energy. Rocky Flats Plant, Interim Safety Analysis
Report (1989), by Rockwell International Energy Systems Group. Rocky Flats
Repository. Golden, Colorado, 1989.
United States Department of Energy. Final Cultural Resources Survey Report (1995), by Science Applications International Corporation. Rocky Flats Repository. Golden,
D. Jayne Aaron, Environmental Designer, engineering-environmental
Management, Inc. (e2M), 1997. Judith Berryman, Ph.D., Archaeologist, e2M,
Index to Photographs
Located in the northeast quadrant of the plant between Buildings 776/777 and 707, Golden Vicinity, Jefferson County, Colorado.
Photographs CO-83-AB-1 through CO-83-AB-2 were taken by various site photography
contractors, dates are indicated in parentheses.
CO-83-AB-1 – View of Building 778 looking north-northeast. Buildings 776/777, in the background, and Building 707 were connected to Building 778 by corridors and an overhead chain conveyor for moving radioactive materials. (1/98)
CO-83-AB-2 – View of Building 778 looking west-southwest. Building 778 housed laundry facilities, showers, locker rooms, sanitary facilities, an electrical shop, machine shop, sheet metal shop, and inert gas storage. (12/7/90)