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Report recommends off-site disposal of secondary waste

WASHINGTON -- It is both technically feasible and advantageous for the U.S. Army's Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) to use off-site facilities to dispose of secondary waste during regular chemical agent disposal operations, says a new report from the National Research Council. The committee that wrote the report also determined that the provision in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act allowing the submission of data from previous trial burns -- test runs required to prove the effectiveness of incinerators in destroying certain agents -- in lieu of new trial burns should be used to the fullest extent possible.

"The Army's incinerators are destroying the United States' stockpiled chemical weapons, but the on-site capacity is just not enough for treating high volumes of secondary wastes such as carbon, wood dunnage, or protective gear," said committee chair Peter B. Lederman, retired executive director of the Hazardous Substance Management Research Center, Newark, N.J. "Destroying the secondary waste concurrently at off-site locations whenever appropriate will dramatically improve closure operations."

The committee reviewed the waste disposal practices at all of CMA's currently operating incinerator facilities, located in Anniston, Ala., Pine Bluff, Ark., Umatilla, Ore., and Tooele, Utah, as well as the chemical neutralization facility in Newport, Ind. In evaluating the sites, the committee also drew from the experiences of the 2003 closure of the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS) in the Pacific, which suffered from substantial increases in costs and delays due to thousands of tons of secondary waste that had accumulated on-site.

Current waste management at the facilities is regulated by state-issued permits that date back to before the construction of the facilities, when data concerning the quantities of wastes was scarce. While the permits have been modified somewhat since then, great disparity st
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Contact: Paul Jackson
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
The National Academies
26-Jul-2007


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