The Department of the Army generates approximately 102 000 metric tons of hazardous waste each year. Nearly 90% of these wastes are produced by the Army's industrial activities. The typical method of treatment has been land disposal. Because of the costs associated with managing these wastes, both in terms of final disposal and corrective actions, and recent legislation emphasizing waste reduction, the Army began to strengthen its pollution prevention strategy. Beginning in 1984, the Army elevated the management of all wastes to the highest levels; previously, the Army had maintained a decentralized program by individual Army installations. Also, the Army established policy goals for reducing the disposal of solvents, a significant hazardous waste contributor. Similarly, in 1985, Army industrial activities developed waste reduction strategies for all other types of hazardous wastes that also emphasize front-end reduction, using methods such as materials substitution, recycling, and process changes to achieve specific process reduction goals. Hazardous waste audits and economic analyses are also required to identify and rank the appropriate type of reduction options that are economically practicable. Moreover, to develop a strategy for selecting waste management options and to measure progress in achieving program goals, formal committees were established. Committee members represent the various facets of Army activities responsible for the cradle-to-grave management of hazardous wastes.
To further facilitate the Army's hazardous waste reduction objectives, a study is being conducted to assess all hazardous waste reporting requirements, as provided by local, state, Federal, and international regulation and Army policy. The findings and recommendations from this study will support a concurrent study to identify and develop the most appropriate type of computer data base to record the necessary hazardous waste data. This data base will also serve as a useful tool in programming and budgeting for hazardous waste activities. Moreover, two additional studies are being conducted, in concert, to refine a hazardous materials tracking system and to economically evaluate and rank waste reduction options. These studies, in support of on-going waste reduction initiatives, and continuing waste reduction committee forums, will enhance the Army's efforts to meet its hazardous waste reduction objectives and goals.