The role of innovative remediation technologies Page: 3 of 16
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have initiated the effort to find better, faster, less expensive ways to remediate
contamination from hazardous waste.
The EPA, for example, has established a number of programs in recent years in an attempt
to bring new technologies into the field in order to improve our remediation record.
Included in these initiatives are the Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)
program, The Alternative Treatment Technology Information Center (ATTIC), and the
Technology Information Office (TIO).
In addition, the Department of Energy has established the Integrated Site Demonstration
program, and the Department of Defense has funded a large number of technology
research, development, and deployment centers such as the Air Force Center for
This paper, however, will focus on the U.S. EPA's technologies, primarily because of the
scope of their programs and the fact that EPA is involved in most of the cleanup actions in
Overview of Existino Remediation Technologies (Alternative Technolooies)
Traditional Approach to Remedlation
The most common method of disposing of solid waste in the U.S. during the early 1980's
was to excavate, transport, and dispose of the material in a landfill. The most common
water treatment technology was to pump and treat. These methods have been applied
successfully at a number of sites, but their cost, and the fact that the contamination has not
been permanently eliminated has made alternative technologies attractive. In the U.S., the
liability for contamination stays with the generator, regardless of where it resides, making
disposal one of the least attractive options.
Alternatives to the traditional technologies have been promoted aggressively by the EPA.
Superfund Amendments and Remediation Act (SARA) (1986) contained provisions to
encourage permanent solutions (destruction vs. disposal) to hazardous-waste problems.
Alternative technologies have widespread, full-scale use throughout the U.S. These
technologies are classified because classification as "alternatives" is based on the fact that
they are alternatives to landfill disposal. The most commonly used alternative
,ecnnoiogies are incineration and solidification/stabilization. A recent (September 1991)
EPA listing of established alternative remediation technologies inclucec
on site incineration
off site incineration
- other (soil aeration, chemical neutralization)
These technologies have been described in some detail in various reports (see list of
The number of sites where treatment, rather than disposal, is used has increased
dramatically in the U.S. After the passage of SARA in 1986, the number of sites using
treatment technologies increased to the point where nearly 70% of the sites currently
- - - - -~-'.4^,4 f a I inn treatment technologies, as opposed to disposal.
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Doesburg, J.M. The role of innovative remediation technologies, article, May 1, 1992; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1056819/m1/3/: accessed March 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.