Case Study

Case Study: Lead Paint Removal for Wanda III Steamship Restoration

by | Mar 28, 2023


Techniques Used: Glass Media Blasting, Dry Ice Blasting

Location: Gravenhurst, ON

Service: Lead Paint Abatement, Cleaning.

The Wanda III is one of the last surviving steam yachts in Ontario, a historical symbol of a bygone era on the Muskoka Lakes. Originally built in 1915 for Margaret Eaton, wife of Timothy Eaton, the owner of the former department store chain, Eaton’s, the ship was originally designed to be the fastest on the lakes. The engine was designed similarly to ships used in the Royal Canadian Navy at the time and was cutting-edge in its technology.

The 90-ft long Wanda III was pulled from the waters over 20 years ago, but the Muskoka Discovery Centre has taken on the project of adapting the steamship, restoring it and exchanging its coal-powered engine for a more sustainable, electric option. To prepare the ship for its return, the Discovery Centre wanted to clean the hull of the vessel before repairing it and have the former engine cleaned for display in its museum.

The Situation

Wickens was contracted to clean the hull and remove the lead-based paint that was currently applied. We were also requested to clean the steam engine of the Wanda III before it was moved to the Muskoka Discovery Centre for display.

When cleaning the hull of the ship, we had to work within the boathouse where the Wanda III resides. As this boathouse has direct access to the water, we had to find a way to contain the area without allowing any lead paint to contaminate the lake or the surfaces of the boathouse. We also had to work around the ship’s placement in the boathouse, which could be challenging thanks to the position of the boat and the shape of the hull.

The Solution

We began our project by completing lead testing on the ship’s paint to confirm the lead content. Once that was completed our next task was the safe containment of the Wanda III within its boathouse.

We constructed a net-like structure below the ship that would capture all the lead paint, but allow the media used while cleaning to fall through. We also used a rip-proof poly sheeting to contain the boathouse – this sheeting would prevent any lead paint from passing through and keep it from contaminating any surfaces in the boathouse.

Once the containment was built, we began blasting. We used an abrasive blasting method using glass to remove the paint. Abrasive blasting of lead paint requires our team to use additional PPE, which had to be put on and taken off safely to ensure no contamination.

After the blasting was complete, we performed wipe samples on the hull of the ship to ensure that all the lead paint was removed. We also cleaned the containment sheeting to ensure no lead contaminants could spread as we took the protection down. Our team was responsible for capturing the lead paint residue and disposing of it safely.

The Wanda III’s former engine was a simple dry ice blasting project; the engine had already been separated from the steamship and was placed in an area where it could be blasted properly. Our team used our standard PPE and dry ice blasting pellets to degrease the machine and remove residue.

The Results

The lead paint abatement and dry ice blasting jobs were completed successfully in two weeks. Lead paint removal was completed safely, with testing performed to ensure that nothing was contaminated by the lead.

“The team at Wickens did a great job, and did some amazing work,” said John Miller, President of the Muskoka Steamships & Discovery Centre.

The steam engine of the Wanda III is now clean and ready for display, and the hull of the Wanda III is now being repaired and repainted for use on the Muskoka Lakes. The Muskoka Discovery Centre was very pleased with our blasting services, and we look forward to touring the Muskoka Lakes on the Wanda III soon!

Wickens Dry Ice Blasting tackles the toughest jobs across Ontario, offering fire restoration, mould remediation, asbestos abatement, lead paint abatement, and more. If you’re interested in mould removal or other restoration services, contact us today to see how we can help. We’ll work with you to come up with an optimal plan to ensure the longevity of your property while cleaning effectively.

Roger White