Developing a dependable approach for evaluating waste treatment data Page: 4 of 18
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Decision makers involved with hazardous waste treatment issues are faced with the challenge of
making objective evaluations concerning treatment formulations. Such evaluations are driven by the
need to balance regulatory concerns (EPA and State treatment standards) with economic realities
(treatment and disposal costs). Waste treatment data is often gained through treatability studies that
precede final treatment activities. To develop a dependable approach for assessing treatment data,
there are several criteria that must be considered: solid mathematical basis; easy to understand and
utilize; incorporates applicable, prevailing treatment standard(s); usable for several treatment types;
applicable to multiple hazards, etc. In meeting these criteria, the evaluation method will be steered
onto more solid quantitative footing, and steered away from qualitative conjecture.
This work utilizes an effectiveness factor (denoted as TI) as the basis for waste treatment evaluations,
which was recently developed for application to mixed waste treatability studies involving
solidification and stabilization at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. The
effectiveness factor incorporates an arbitrary treatment criterion 0, which in practice could be the
Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure, Unconfined Compressive Strength, Leachability Index,
or any other criterion used to judge treatment performance. Three values for (D are utilized when
assessing a given treatment formulation: before treatment, after treatment, and a reference value
(typically a treatment standard). The expression for Ti also incorporates the waste loading as the
prime experimental parameter, and accounts for the contribution that each hazard has upon the
overall treatment performance. Also discussed are general guidelines for numerical boundaries and
statistical interpretations of treatment data.
Case studies are presented that demonstrate the usefulness of the effectiveness factor and related
numerical methods, where the typical hazards encountered are toxic metals within mixed waste.
Trends are observed that indicate favorable treatment (positive Ti values), marginal treatment (near-
zero positive Ti values), and unacceptable treatment (negative Ti values). Optimal treatment
formulations can be determined for some wastes by careful examination of Ti values, since Ti may peak
at a specific waste loading. The effectiveness factor could be adopted as a decision making tool for
the treatment of mixed waste and non-radioactive hazardous waste within the DOE complex and the
Private Sector. As such a tool, 71 would add a level of confidence to decisions regarding waste
National Laboratories within the DOE complex are involved in making informed decisions concerning
the choice of final or full-scale treatments for hazardous and low-level mixed waste (LLMW).
Decisions tied to waste treatment should incorporate an element of mathematical certainty as to the
performance (effectiveness) of proposed treatment formulations. The effectiveness of a treatment
can often be correlated by considering one or more key experimental parameters with one or more
treatment criteria. An expression for an effectiveness factor Ti is discussed herein, as based on
fundamental concepts and quantities related to performance measures of waste treatment. The
expression for t is written in general terms to allow the use of virtually any treatment criterion. This
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Gering, K.L. Developing a dependable approach for evaluating waste treatment data, report, December 31, 1997; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc681209/m1/4/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.