NASA's the banquet; here are the side dishes

SANDUSKY NASA is proving to be the bread and butter for a few local businesses. Haag
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



NASA is proving to be the bread and butter for a few local businesses.

Haag Environmental of Sandusky is a family business in charge of making sure Plum Brook is safe for the community.

President Ruth Haag, vice president Bob Haag and environmental technician Rachel Haag specialize in soil and ground water assessment.

"We take samples, get them tested at laboratories and interpret what the tests mean," Bob said. "Remediation means that we go out and clean up whatever contamination there might be."

Haag Environmental was hired to test the stream at Plum Brook NASA for cesium, a contaminant that is a possible outcome of decommissioning a nuclear reactor.

"We took samples mostly of the soil in the stream itself, from the sediment from the bottom of the stream and also the sides of the stream," Bob said. "What's out there is so low that it's not causing a problem."

Bob said if they had found high levels of cesium, since it attaches to sediment, they would dig it out to remove it and dispose of it in a landfill licensed to accept cesium. But the levels in Plum Brook are so low, no one is exposed to a dangerous level, he said.

NASA is the business' main employer, and Bob said when their contract is up in a few months they will be looking for another big project.

"We always have smaller projects coming in, and we are always looking for the next large project," he said.

Another business, Sierra Lobo in Milan, has done work for NASA Plum Brook before and is currently working for NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The company employs 30 people, mostly engineers who are doing technical development.

Sierra Lobo's research is funded by NASA in the hope they will be able to go from "the shuttle to the next generation of launch vehicles," said spokesman Jeff Sultzbaugh.

As a result, Sierra Lobo had developed the Cryo-Tracker Cryogenic Mass Gauging System that tests the temperature of liquid hydrogen, which is used on shuttle launches. Out of the products Sierra Lobo has developed, the Cryo-Tracker is the closest to being on the market.