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The recovery and reuse of commercial solvents has become a major operating concern for the small-to-medium user of these materials in light of current Federal regulations. Pending regulations will severely limit these businesses in the manner in which they may treat, store, or dispose of these materials in the near future. A novel mobile solvent recovery system for reclaiming usable solvents and thereby minimizing the amount of waste generated has been developed and tested at a number of industrial sites. The system has been designed to be flexible enough to reclaim a wide variety of industrial solvents while still adhering to the EPA's regulations governing the quantities of wastes that remain within the system as residue, and minimizing the amount of cross-solvent contamination. The system employs a specially engineered vacuum distillation unit equipped with two unique cleaning systems for continuous cleaning of the side walls and dome head. The current progress of this project is discussed including the design and construction of the system and its operation. Results are given from a field test verification study conducted on various solvent containing wastes generated from a number of industrial sources. The wastes tested have consisted of sludges with solvents such as toluene, trichloroethane, n-propyl acetate, MEK, xylene, acetone, methylene chloride, and others. The results to date have been very promising and indicate that from 50 to 90% of the initial volume of these wastes may be reduced. They also indicate that reusable solvent may be obtained, thereby providing an economic, as well as a waste management incentive for on-site reclamation.
hazardous wastes, solvent recovery, mobile solvent recovery, waste minimization
Associate professor, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH