Managing Mixed Waste

by Nancy P. Kirner, Manager; Envirosphere Co., Bellevue, WA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 2, Pg. 68-70

Document Type: Feature article


The category of mixed waste is an ambiguous one that is not clearly defined nor assigned to any one federal agency. These wastes, according to definitions in several government documents, are combinations of low-level radioactive wastes and hazardous wastes regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act–materials that have the characteristics of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or extraction procedure toxicity. Several agencies have jurisdiction over such wastes, and state agencies may also have oversight responsibility. States and waste generators have problems balancing the requirements of these several agencies. At present, commercial low-level waste disposal sites will not knowingly accept mixed waste for disposal. Elimination or minimization seems to be the only alternative for the short term and the long-term. Source control, product substitution, in-process treatment and process modification are among the possibilities. The U.S. needs a streamlined and coordinated regulatory system to deal with these wastes.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Waste management | Waste sites | Waste disposal | Federal government | Terminology and definition | Recycling | Corrosion

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