Alternative Waste Management Systems for Site-Integrated Cleanup

In facing the wide variety of challenging issues that arise when deciding upon methods of site remediation and waste management, particularly in areas where pollution sources, though regulated, continue to amass and present and ever-growing environmental hazard. Every day progress is made toward tightening these standards further, which conversely increases operations costs, especially when off-site transportation is amongst the methods in place. It is quickly becoming evident that off-site waste management is a costly endeavor that, in many cases, also has a drastic impacting on the surrounding ecology. Long-term damage is often rendered to the topsoil, including the destruction of delicate micronutrients, as well as the local flora and fauna. Finding solutions for site cleanup that will synergistically work with all factors, particularly when the local plant and animals (not to mention humans) are taken into account. In some instances and otherwise simple and inexpensive solutions can be prohibitively expensive when the impact on the surrounding environment is taken into account.

In exploring available options it seems most logical to look at the types of wastes that these solutions can best suited to address. In most cases a solution will work as a stand-alone method of addressing the problem. However, in the case of a few challenging sites which suffer from a variety of factors, most of the solutions here are designed to work well with each other, providing for more of a total solution while not increasing the overall cost beyond the unit value of each. In some cases coupling two technologies together may end up proving to be more profitable after the waste materials have been reclaimed and are subsequently reused in the process.

Ozone, energized oxygen, has long been recognized as a superior oxidizer, and is the method of choice for rapid sterilization, or chemical decontamination of water with a long history of data to support this. However, ozone will decompose back to regular oxygen in approximately twenty minutes when it loses its energy. This means that ozone must be generated at the point of use, and cannot be bottled or stored. Ozone generators have changed very little over the last century. Most ozone generators in use today are Corona Discharge, or CD type generators, a process which was developed in the 1890s. However, ozone has not seen a large commercial success primarily because of two reasons. The first is cost of operation; a CD ozone generator is energy intensive, consuming about 7,500 watts of electricity to produce a pound of ozone. Secondly ozone can't be bottled or stored until needed so the generator must be large enough to meet the peak demand of a particular situation instead of the average use requirements.

Ozone, energized oxygen, has long been recognized as a superior oxidizer, and is the method of choice for rapid sterilization, or chemical decontamination of water with a long history of data to support this. However, ozone will decompose back to regular oxygen in approximately twenty minutes when it loses its energy. This means that ozone must be generated at the point of use, and cannot be bottled or stored. Ozone generators have changed very little over the last century. Most ozone generators in use today are Corona Discharge, or CD type generators, a process which was developed in the 1890s. However, ozone has not seen a large commercial success primarily because of two reasons. The first is cost of operation; a CD ozone generator is energy intensive, consuming about 7,500 watts of electricity to produce a pound of ozone. Secondly ozone can't be bottled or stored until needed so the generator must be large enough to meet the peak demand of a particular situation instead of the average use requirements.

A Corporation named Allotech has developed and patented a new method of generating ozone, called the Fluid Energizer, or FE. The FE uses dielectric focusing to effectively transfer the electric discharge energy into the gas stream. This method produces higher concentrations of ozone than CD generators for about half the energy consumed. This raise in efficiency conversely reduces the size requirements of the ozone generator. The FE generator has an output of five pounds of ozone per day, and weighing less than 50 lbs can be easily shipped. When compared with a CD generator with the same output, which can weigh 500+ lbs and is skid mounted, it is clear that an ozone generation solution is practical and versatile enough for a wide range of applications.

The FE is efficient and small enough that it can be coupled with a portable battery, making units as remotely operable as they can be transported. Units can even be configured to be small and lightweight enough fit backpacking requirements, yet will effectively treat approximately 300 gallons of water per battery charge. The FE technology achieves higher levels of oxygen excitation than traditional CD generators, thereby reacting quicker with all manners of contaminants, even complex organics and heavy metals. This fast reaction capability allows for them to be used on-site to eliminate contaminants as they arise, instead of having to additionally clean nearby contaminated resources. The FE ozone generator has been in tested in field-operational beta units for over five years now, and the data from these units overwhelming reinforces

The FE is efficient and small enough that it can be coupled with a portable battery, making units as remotely operable as they can be transported. Units can even be configured to be small and lightweight enough fit backpacking requirements, yet will effectively treat approximately 300 gallons of water per battery charge. The FE technology achieves higher levels of oxygen excitation than traditional CD generators, thereby reacting quicker with all manners of contaminants, even complex organics and heavy metals. This fast reaction capability allows for them to be used on-site to eliminate contaminants as they arise, instead of having to additionally clean nearby contaminated resources. The FE ozone generator has been in tested in field-operational beta units for over five years now, and the data from these units overwhelming reinforces they're superior function of previous technologies. See Appendix A for a breakdown of appropriate applications.

However, ozone is not effective at treating all forms of contaminated waters. Other available processes may better deal with some sites because of the waste generation involved. Two other patented systems exist, both of which operate for approximately $425 per Acre foot, and are capable of producing water with purity ranging in the sub 100 PPM of total dissolved solids (tds), and both systems can work well with either salt (ocean) water or any range of brackish or contaminated water. Additionally, both of the systems have been able to completely remove chemical and biological contamination, and reports from third party laboratory testing have shown these purification readings to be accurate. These systems are built "palleted" and are manufactured in easily movable units with a weight of approx. 3000 lbs. In both instances the residual material left over from processing is a concentrate of high purity salt, which can optionally be further processed for a salable product.

However, ozone is not effective at treating all forms of contaminated waters. Other available processes may better deal with some sites because of the waste generation involved. Two other patented systems exist, both of which operate for approximately $425 per Acre foot, and are capable of producing water with purity ranging in the sub 100 PPM of total dissolved solids (tds), and both systems can work well with either salt (ocean) water or any range of brackish or contaminated water. Additionally, both of the systems have been able to completely remove chemical and biological contamination, and reports from third party laboratory testing have shown these purification readings to be accurate. These systems are built "palleted" and are manufactured in easily movable units with a weight of approx. 3000 lbs. In both instances the residual material left over from processing is a concentrate of high purity salt, which can optionally be further processed for a salable product.

The Cluff system is a patented, stand alone, nano-filtration, reverse osmosis, bypass system. When combined with a slo-sand primary filter it can process wastewaters, as well as water with virtually any combination of toxics, metallics, and biologically contaminant materials. Units are available 'off the shelf' for immediate usage with single and multiple housing situations. City sized units are multiples of individual "pallets" which can be moved by large trucks and also readily available. This system removes the trihalomethanes and other toxics-metallics, from the primary water outlet while concentrating the undesirable elements into a low percentage by-pass water flow of 4 to 10%. This secondary flow can then be treated with the 'surfactant-nutrient' or 'Plasma Arc' systems discussed hereafter, both of which will destroy the trihalomethanes, PCB's and other man made toxins in material stream to prevent further environmental contamination. The bypass rate can also be altered by simply changing the pump pressure; this allows for control over the water purity in situations where a higher purity may not been needed. The Cluff system also does not require constant filter replacement, but rather a back flushing if the pump pressure increases, or possibly washing in unusual cases. Utilizing various pallet configurations nearly `One Acre Foot' daily of potable water can be provided for only the cost of the electricity to run the pump(s). Costs for this system are included in Appendix B.

The Cluff system is a patented, stand alone, nano-filtration, reverse osmosis, bypass system. When combined with a slo-sand primary filter it can process wastewaters, as well as water with virtually any combination of toxics, metallics, and biologically contaminant materials. Units are available 'off the shelf' for immediate usage with single and multiple housing situations. City sized units are multiples of individual "pallets" which can be moved by large trucks and also readily available. This system removes the trihalomethanes and other toxics-metallics, from the primary water outlet while concentrating the undesirable elements into a low percentage by-pass water flow of 4 to 10%. This secondary flow can then be treated with the 'surfactant-nutrient' or 'Plasma Arc' systems discussed hereafter, both of which will destroy the trihalomethanes, PCB's and other man made toxins in material stream to prevent further environmental contamination. The bypass rate can also be altered by simply changing the pump pressure; this allows for control over the water purity in situations where a higher purity may not been needed. The Cluff system also does not require constant filter replacement, but rather a back flushing if the pump pressure increases, or possibly washing in unusual cases. Utilizing various pallet configurations nearly `One Acre Foot' daily of potable water can be provided for only the cost of the electricity to run the pump(s). Costs for this system are included in Appendix B.

The second system is the Navarrone vapor compression distillation system, versions of which are currently in widespread usage by the bottled water industry. They utilize a flash boiler and specialized heat transfer surfaces combined with laminar flow technology to recover 99.5% of the required heat - a near 'ideal' model of internal thermodynamics. For large-scale water production for agricultural usage, each processing unit would be 4 1/2' wide X 8 1/2' high X 12' long with a high efficiency 100 hp electric motor, requiring 3 pH, 440 Volt power. Stone and Webster Consultants have recently referenced the cost of reverse-osmosis (RO) water production from the 'best' systems to date at approximately $1200 per acre foot which is over three times the operational cost of either the Navarrone system or the Cluff system.

The Navarrone palate units will each produce 100,000 gallons per day (gpd), thus 10 units would yield 1,000,000 gpd, or approx. 3 acre feet of water. One acre-foot is 324,958 gallons, and costs approx. $425.00 to produce from either the Cluff or Navarrone systems. Thus it would take 3 Navarrone units, or only one Cluff CWP 48 unit to produce one Acre Foot of water. However, the final choice of which solution is chosen must be based a wide variety of factors specific to the site and it's resources for energy production.

For situations where the primary waste source consists mainly of solids contaminants, including systems with a solid matter outflow, a solution such as a newly designed plasma arc furnace from EnSenTech can be installed. The system is a continuous feed plasma arc multiple use furnace capable of reducing a wide variety of hydrocarbon-based contaminants (including toxic wastes, contaminated medical wastes and even radioactive substances), into a totally inert and very small volume residue of 500 lb. to less than 1 lb. In the past, plasma arc technologies have been extremely cumbersome and expensive batch systems. However, recent advances with a new proprietary A.R.T. pump technology have changed the old economical taxing batch processing into an efficient continuous flow utilizing the A.R.T. pump to provide a continuous feed. Research has shown this new plasma arc system works very well for solid waste management, particularly in steel making and mineral processing. The system can be easily integrated into these areas, as well as refining, greatly reducing the toxic by-products produced, and would be especially useful in area where some of the basic feed materials may be reconstituted in fractionating tower(s) or removed as combustion components for use to drive gas turbine generators, boilers etc.

The A.R.T., or Air Resource Technology, system can best be described as an air operated, linear-accelerator-conveyor, utilizing vortex air layers to creates a high velocity/no pressure, core air flow to carry materials quickly over extended distances. The zero velocity vortex air cushion almost completely prevents any physical contact on the conveyed product or the internal pipe surface, which will greatly reduce maintenance costs, particularly in industrial applications where abrasive substances will be transported. This material stream will maintain itself from several hundred feet to several miles with intermittent extending stations, across a wide range on inclinations, including short, near vertical, sections. As the materials are moved (at over 160 feet per second) they may be stratified, separated, and dried and then may be selectively ejected and classified at the pipeline terminus. This makes the A.R.T. technology integration with systems such as the plasma arc furnace capable of handling a variety of unique situations.

The new additions to this technology since January of 2000 have completely changed the previous conceptions of plasma arc technology. New burners in experimental test units are operating on 60 amperes 440 volt current, as opposed to the 1.5 million watts consume by previous units. These units also operate with a new cooling system which allows them to operate continuously for months, as opposed to the costly, constantly eroding electrodes which were the main point of failure in previous units. As a result of the improved control and accuracy in the new units all toxic emissions are eliminated, including PCBs, dioxins and radioactive particulates, as well as energy plume emissions.

Oil reconditioning solutions are also available for sites where large quantities of waste oil, or other difficult to reclaim oils exist. Every oil refinery has a 'tar pit' or sludge pond where the sand and clay residue from the refining process is dumped. This material contains a given amount of molecular oil, which will not be released without some form of chemical or further processing. This device's primary function was to remove the oil from waste road asphalt, so that clean sand and gravel could be reconstituted. However, because of the volume of material that can be processed per hour it became apparent that the system would be well suited to handle a variety of specific ecological remediations. The system can be made portable and mounted on either a mobile trailer unit or a large seagoing tug, in addition to semi-permanent installations in high utilization areas. Specific applications include;

1. Removing petrochemical contamination from waterways where the oil containing water will be pumped into a collection device and then processed and returned.
2. Contaminated soil, from highway spills, can be dumped into a hopper, solvent washed and then returned to the site for further ecological repatriation.
3. Water and settling pond contamination from refinery sites can be remediated.
4. Oil well drilling sites can be completely restored, including cleaning the surrounding soils and other resources contaminated in the initial drilling process.

The solvent used in this process is totally innocuous and is 100% recovered from the process as well as the contaminated media. This system has been tested in a variety of applications, and evaluation data as well as demonstration units are available.

Complimenting many of the previously mentioned processes are the Surfactant Nutrient Soil Sterilization System and the Pyrolysis waste management System. These two systems are independently not as adept at handling the wide variety of wastes present at many pollution sites, however, when coupled with other systems presented here they work imperfect harmony to further help further stabilize the local environment in the wake of pollutants.

Surfactant Nutrient Soil Sterilization works to reconstitute soils which are nutrient depleted by activating micro-organisms which exist in the soil. It is these same micro-organisms which naturally break down toxins such as PCBs. trihalomethanes, tetraethyl lead compounds, refrigerants (R-12 R-13 etc.), sodium n-salts, and all of the non-food sugar compounds and glycol's (anti-freeze solutions) which are dumped by the millions of gallons annually. This breakdown, which normally occurs of very long periods of time can be significantly decreased by stimulating the micro-organisms to digest all of these toxins back to their naturally occurring compounds. This system is superiorly placed to work in conjunction with any of the aforementioned systems that would be placed at sites where nearby soils and waterways are exposed to minor amounts of contamination, or will be recovering from a larger contamination.

Pyrolysis waste management is a system that was originally designed and utilized in the reduction of scrap tires back to their base petroleum components. However, this technology, with a few adjustments, can be used instead as a multiple use system from processing sewage sludge into usable fertilizer. Residual materials from fish processing can also be reconstituted back to fish meal, livestock food, of fertilizer. Animal manure can be processed from a waste by-product to a highly potent fertilizer that in many cases is still classified as organic. With the increase of pollution from manure and other agricultural wastes this system can provide a solution to the constant generation of organic wastes. With increasingly tightening environmental regulations new systems will have to be put in place to deal with the outflow of waste materials, the Pyrolysis systems stands to become a key element in these scenarios.

In light of changing environmental factors and new, more stringent regulations, it is becoming all too apparent that many of the old models of waste management are becoming dated and unfeasible, especially those which involve off-site transportation of wastes. On-site resource reconstitution and ecological repatriation are increasing coming to light as the ideal model for stabilizing the environment local to the pollution site, as well as the regional impacts that such sites may have. In cases where radiation polluted sites require the isolation of thousands of acres of land, methods of waste management which closer work with the model of natural attenuation can greatly reduce contaminant in shorter periods of time then would have been previous assumed - releasing additionally lands for further development. Ultimately, long-term environmental damage occurs because problems are dealt with only when they have already become problems; by utilizing a more integrated model of waste reconstitution that seeks to address problems before they arise, byproducts can be reintegrated as viable fuel sources thus saving large sums of money.

Appendix A

Ozone Applications Chart

Type of Application Effectiveness*
Drinking water disinfection Excellent
Polished waste water disinfection Excellent
Municipal waste water disinfection Good
Mining waste water polishing Excellent
One site cyanide destruction Excellent
On site toxic waste destruction Limited use +
Heavy metal removal from wash/waste water streams Excellent
Polyvalent metal removal from water streams Not effective
Simple organic reduction from water streams Good
Complex organic removal from water streams Limited use @
Food treatment to extend storage life Good
Detoxification of food stuffs Good
Sterilization of medical instruments Good
Sterilization of dental instruments/equipment Excellent
Deodorization of air or water Excellent
Color removal of water/ bleaching Good
+) Ozone is useful on most heavy metals and organic contaminates.
@) Ozone is effective on most organic streams, however water pH and the contaminates concentration may effect performance.
*) This chart is referencing ozone from a fluid energizer.

Appendix B

Cluff System Costs.

Specific pricing is available through author and by referral from the manufacturer. For export the following are guidelines and Fob. prices as examples.


CWP 100 3/4 h.p. 2500 gallons production per day $3700.00
CWP 800 2 h.p. 16,000-20,000 gallons production per day $10,400
CWP 9X8 ---- 60,000-72,000 gallons production per day $43,500
CWP 48X8 ---- 250,000-336,000 gallons per day $187,000 *
*(this is a payout of only 560 days to pay down the capitalization cost @ $1.00 per 1000 gallons, but does not consider the cost of electricity.)

Keywords: adjustable process; environmental cleanup; integrated solution; scalable modules; waste management;

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Stephanie N. Simmons
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