Appendix E
Criteria for Evaluating Technologies

TOP PRIORITY CRITERIA

Relatively Safe Processes (Low Risk)

Technologies were reviewed to determine if a common process failure (e.g., explosion, corrosion, mechanical failure, operator error, incorrect feeds, service failure, etc.) under normal operating conditions could lead to serious worker, community, or environmental damage. The following factors were considered:

  • minimal storage and transportation of hazardous materials

  • minimal toxicity and flammability of all materials

  • temperatures and pressures below the threshold values that challenge reliable containment

Technical Effectiveness

Technologies were evaluated for their consistency in achieving a standard (in this case, destruction) of neutralent. The following factors were considered:

  • efficiency of detoxification of the neutralent (i.e., solid wastes could be disposed of in a landfill and liquid wastes released to a POTW)

  • integration into a system for the destruction of nonstockpile materiel

Permit Status

Technologies were evaluated for serious regulatory obstacles that would prevent environmental and/or operational permitting. The following factors were considered:

  • potential major delays in obtaining permits under federal (and international), state, or local regulations

  • potential for meeting schedules of international treaties

Pollution Prevention

The committee evaluated the technologies on the principle of “green chemistry” (Mulholland and Dyer, 1999). In other words, pollution prevention and waste minimization practices are implemented at the beginning of the process (pollution prevention) as opposed to after the fact (pollution abatement). The following factors were considered:

  • minimal addition of processing materials1 that would require treatment, disposal, regeneration, recycling, or other handling

  • minimal number of processing steps, which all have an incremental environmental burden in potential leaks and energy, maintenance, shutdown and start-up, and clean-out requirements

  • minimal toxicity of emissions, wastes, or other material that require treatment, disposal, regeneration, recycling, or other handling2

  • operating temperatures and pressures as close to ambient as possible

  • minimal corrosion, plugging, sensitive process-control parameters, and other operating difficulties

  • minimal high-temperature vapor streams that require high-quality treatment

   

NOTE: Reprinted from NRC (2001a), pp. 21–22.

1  

Processing materials include not only the obvious purchased solvents, acids, bases, etc., and service materials, such as catalysts, filters, and adsorbents, but also common items, such as water, nitrogen for instruments and vapor-space inerting, and nitrogen in air used as a source of oxygen. These materials might be used for the process itself or for support tasks, such as cleaning.

2  

For example, arsenic, which is present in lewisite neutralent, is a semivolatile metal in a high-temperature process. The arsenic is released as a vapor and condenses in the gases as a very fine, hard-to-capture particulate. The 1999 EPA incinerator regulations added stringent emission limits for semivolatile metals, and incinerator operators are, therefore, very cautious about accepting wastes containing organo-arsenic compounds.



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Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System Appendix E Criteria for Evaluating Technologies TOP PRIORITY CRITERIA Relatively Safe Processes (Low Risk) Technologies were reviewed to determine if a common process failure (e.g., explosion, corrosion, mechanical failure, operator error, incorrect feeds, service failure, etc.) under normal operating conditions could lead to serious worker, community, or environmental damage. The following factors were considered: minimal storage and transportation of hazardous materials minimal toxicity and flammability of all materials temperatures and pressures below the threshold values that challenge reliable containment Technical Effectiveness Technologies were evaluated for their consistency in achieving a standard (in this case, destruction) of neutralent. The following factors were considered: efficiency of detoxification of the neutralent (i.e., solid wastes could be disposed of in a landfill and liquid wastes released to a POTW) integration into a system for the destruction of nonstockpile materiel Permit Status Technologies were evaluated for serious regulatory obstacles that would prevent environmental and/or operational permitting. The following factors were considered: potential major delays in obtaining permits under federal (and international), state, or local regulations potential for meeting schedules of international treaties Pollution Prevention The committee evaluated the technologies on the principle of “green chemistry” (Mulholland and Dyer, 1999). In other words, pollution prevention and waste minimization practices are implemented at the beginning of the process (pollution prevention) as opposed to after the fact (pollution abatement). The following factors were considered: minimal addition of processing materials1 that would require treatment, disposal, regeneration, recycling, or other handling minimal number of processing steps, which all have an incremental environmental burden in potential leaks and energy, maintenance, shutdown and start-up, and clean-out requirements minimal toxicity of emissions, wastes, or other material that require treatment, disposal, regeneration, recycling, or other handling2 operating temperatures and pressures as close to ambient as possible minimal corrosion, plugging, sensitive process-control parameters, and other operating difficulties minimal high-temperature vapor streams that require high-quality treatment     NOTE: Reprinted from NRC (2001a), pp. 21–22. 1   Processing materials include not only the obvious purchased solvents, acids, bases, etc., and service materials, such as catalysts, filters, and adsorbents, but also common items, such as water, nitrogen for instruments and vapor-space inerting, and nitrogen in air used as a source of oxygen. These materials might be used for the process itself or for support tasks, such as cleaning. 2   For example, arsenic, which is present in lewisite neutralent, is a semivolatile metal in a high-temperature process. The arsenic is released as a vapor and condenses in the gases as a very fine, hard-to-capture particulate. The 1999 EPA incinerator regulations added stringent emission limits for semivolatile metals, and incinerator operators are, therefore, very cautious about accepting wastes containing organo-arsenic compounds.

OCR for page 54
Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Disposal of Liquid Wastes from the Explosive Destruction System IMPORTANT CRITERIA Once the selected technologies had been evaluated according to top priority criteria, they were evaluated by the important criteria. Robustness A robust technology can function successfully in stable continuous operation. The term “continuous” means the technology can treat neutralent from beginning to end and does not require another technology as an intermediate step before final disposal. Continuous also means that feedstock can be continuously supplied or supplied in the batch mode. Operation of a robust technology has the following characteristics: tolerance of normal variations (differences in concentrations of hazardous materials or chemical agents) start-up and shutdown of a facility without major complications or delays operation at small scale or large scale, as required capability of treating a wide range of potential feeds (neutralents from the RRS and MMD) Cost Although the committee did not conduct a cost analysis for each technology, cost was estimated based on past experience and knowledge. The following cost factors were considered: total costs, including capital and operating costs costs per unit of feed Practical Operability The following factors related to practicality were considered: minimal training for operators (average skill levels for the chemical industry) use of standard instrumentation for monitoring and process controls Continuity Two factors were considered in this category: likelihood of finding a vendor Zlikelihood that supplies of raw materials will be available Space Efficiency The main factor in space efficiency was the weight, area, and volume of operating equipment per volume of material processed. Materials Efficiency The following factors were considered: recycling of materials as part of the internal operation of the facility shipment of wastes off site for beneficial reuse use of recycled materials from external sources