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    Test Burns: A Critical Step in the Design of Hazardous Waste Incineration Systems

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    With the final implementation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act covering the disposal of hazardous wastes by incineration, certain basic criteria have been established. Most critical is the ability to reach levels of 99.99% destruction and removal efficiencies (DRE) of the principal organic hazardous constituents (POHC). In order to be assured that this is possible, a pilot test burn is necessary. If these wastes are presently being burned in a similar incineration system, the data can be used in the permit application.

    However, there are many wastes which have been disposed of by landfill, land treatment, and chemical treatment that still present a hazard to our environment, and high-temperature oxidation is the only sure method of reaching destruction to four nines.

    Test burns provide information for the proper design of the oxidizer related to air flow, fuel flow, oxidation temperature, mixing technique to achieve turbulence, atomizer type, residence time, and resultant emissions. Other problems inherent in handling the waste—such as pumping, piping, valving and control, atomization fluid and pressure, and atomizer location—are also encountered in the test burn and provide insight in the design of the full-scale system.

    Certain control techniques which may be necessary for handling a variety of wastes are encountered in the test burn and provide the opportunity to check the effects of the unit operation.

    The need for proper design and operation of a test burn facility will be discussed. Problem test burns will be reviewed and related to the effect on scale-up of full scale operating units. When a process changes, resulting in a different waste product, the pilot unit will permit testing and optimization of design without interruption of the full-scale system.


    incineration, hazardous wastes, test burns, trial burns, turbulence, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, combustion, atomization, high-intensity combustion

    Author Information:

    Santoleri, JJ
    Principal consultant, Four Nines, Inc., Plymouth Meeting, PA

    Committee/Subcommittee: D34.08

    DOI: 10.1520/STP36382S