In Situ Mercury Stabilization (ISMS) Treatment: Technology Maturation Project Phase I Status Report

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Mercury (Hg) was used to separate lithium-6 isotope for weapons production at the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge in the 1950s and 1960s. As much as two million pounds of elemental mercury was 'lost' or unaccounted for and a large portion of that material is believed to have entered the environment. The DOE site office in Oak Ridge has identified Hg pollution in soils, sediments, and streams as the most significant environmental challenge currently faced. In industry, large amounts of mercury have been used to manufacture products (e.g., fluorescent light bulbs, thermometers) and for chemical processing (e.g., production of chlorine ... continued below

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Kalb,P.D. & Milian, L. March 1, 2008.

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Description

Mercury (Hg) was used to separate lithium-6 isotope for weapons production at the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge in the 1950s and 1960s. As much as two million pounds of elemental mercury was 'lost' or unaccounted for and a large portion of that material is believed to have entered the environment. The DOE site office in Oak Ridge has identified Hg pollution in soils, sediments, and streams as the most significant environmental challenge currently faced. In industry, large amounts of mercury have been used to manufacture products (e.g., fluorescent light bulbs, thermometers) and for chemical processing (e.g., production of chlorine and alkali via mercury electrochemical cells) and many of these industrial sites are now polluted with mercury contaminated soil as a result of previous releases and/or inadvertent leaks. Remediation techniques for Hg contaminated soils are either based on thermal desorption and recovery of the mercury or excavation and shipping of large volumes of material to remote facilities for treatment and disposal. Both of these alternatives are extremely costly. The Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) Environmental Research & Technology Division (ERTD) has demonstrated, in laboratory-scale experiments, the viability of treating mercury contaminated soils by means of sulfide treatment rods inserted into the soil through a process known as In Situ Mercury Stabilization (ISMS). This approach is partly based on BNL's patented and successfully licensed ex situ process for Hg treatment, Sulfur Polymer Stabilization/Solidification (SPSS) which converts Hg to the more stable sulfide form. The original experiments showed that Hg homogeneously distributed in soil rapidly migrates to form a high concentration zone of chemically stable mercuric sulfide near the treatment rods while concentrations of Hg in surrounding areas away from the treatment rods are depleted to acceptable levels. BSA has subsequently filed for patent protection on the ISMS technology. If further developed it has the potential for large-scale in-situ treatment of contaminated soils that could substantially reduce the prohibitive cost of thermal desorption and/or excavation and disposal. Licensing and spin-off technology development opportunities would then be viable. Depending on performance and regulatory acceptance, the treated mercury could either be excavated for disposal elsewhere or left in place as a stable alternative. Excavated spent treatment rods could be processed by the SPSS process to reduce the potential for dispersion and lower leachability even further. The Phase I objectives of the In Situ Mercury Stabilization Treatment Process Technology Maturation Project were to: (1) replicate the original bench-scale results that formed the basis for BNL's patent application, i.e., mercury contamination in soil will migrate to and react with 'rods' containing sulfur and/or sulfur compounds, (2) provide enough information to evaluate a decision to conduct further development, and (3) establish some of the critical parameters that require further technology maturation during Phase II. The information contained in this report summarizes the work conducted in Phase I to meet these objectives.

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  • Report No.: BNL--81725-2008-IR
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-98CH10886
  • DOI: 10.2172/944114 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 944114
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc897157

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • March 1, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

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Kalb,P.D. & Milian, L. In Situ Mercury Stabilization (ISMS) Treatment: Technology Maturation Project Phase I Status Report, report, March 1, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc897157/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.