Unmixing Mixed Waste

by M. J. Williams, Senior Engineer; Bechtel National, Inc., Oak Ridge, TN,
M. E. Redmon, Envir. Scientist; Bechtel National, Inc., Oak Ridge, Tn,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 4, Pg. 46-48

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: A thermal treatment process successfully converted sludge classified as hazardous chemical/radioactive mixed waste to low specific activity radioactive waste at the National Guard Armory in Chicago, Ill. The sludge was generated during remedial action conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program. It was classified as mixed waste because it contained uranium in concentrations as great as 14,000 pCi/g, as well as sufficient quantities of ignitable volatile organic compounds as classified by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. There are no treatment facilities for mixed waste and it is illegal for commercial or federal facilities to accept it for disposal. The two-phase thermal treatment process eliminated the ignitability characteristic, making it acceptable for disposal. A ventilation system was utilized in both phases to prevent the release of radioactive and heavy metal particulates and volatile organic compounds into the environment. Post-treatment analytical results verified that the treatment substantially reduced the concentrations of volatiles and semi-volatiles. Disposal of the treated sludge as radioactive waste was approved by the disposal site in February 1989.

Subject Headings: Hazardous wastes | Organic compounds | Radioactive wastes | Sludge | Waste disposal | Waste treatment |

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