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Report recommends off-site disposal of secondary waste

ill exists between how each site manages waste. For instance, in three of the five states, all waste from chemical agent disposal operations is considered hazardous, regardless of whether it exhibits hazardous characteristics. Managing waste listed as hazardous is more challenging because of added restrictions on shipping, storage, and disposal procedures. Commercially run hazardous waste management facilities can provide relief from the on-site disposal capacity problem and typically have far greater waste treatment and disposal capacity. The committee noted that changes to allow more off-site treatment and disposal will in most cases require modifications to the site operating permits.

The committee focused its review on six major waste streams that result from the destruction of chemical agents: spent activated carbon, brine solutions and salts, wood dunnage, scrap metal, plastics, and spent decontamination solutions. These secondary wastes are found in different quantities at all four incinerator locations. The chemical neutralization facility does not generate brine solutions or salts; instead it generates VX hydrolysate, a water-based liquid resulting from the chemical breakdown of the VX nerve agent. Excluding the hydrolysate and wastes that can be eliminated on-site, CMA estimates that there will be more than 10 million pounds of secondary wastes at the completion of the chemical weapons destruction operations.

Spent activated carbon represents nearly 35 percent of the estimated secondary wastes. Activated carbon beds are used in the pollution abatement filtration systems, which treat the air in the on-site buildings and all gases that emanate from the disposal process. The carbon absorbs contaminants from the air and byproduct gases, preventing their escape into the environment. The system requires constant monitoring and frequent changing of the carbon beds. The committee found that on-site treatment of the carbon followed by
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Contact: Paul Jackson
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
The National Academies
26-Jul-2007


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