Since 1982, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been conducting performance assessments of hazardous waste thermal destruction facilities in the United States. The principal objective of these tests has been to characterize emissions and determine if these facilities are capable of meeting the waste destruction and control requirements of the current EPA regulations and standards. To date, the test program has involved performance assessments at 9 incinerators and over 20 high-temperature industrial processes employing hazardous waste as a fuel supplement in their operations.
The testing has typically involved stack emissions assessment for SOx, NOx, particulate, hydrochloric acid (HCl), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), oxygen (O2), metals, total hydrocarbon, and quantification of specific organic compound emissions. Engineering and other process operating variables (for example, excess air, steam load, and waste to fuel ratio) have also been recorded during the test program in order to examine the potential operating bounds for these facilities.
The purpose of this paper is to summarize the extensive results of this testing program, which has, in general, indicated that high organic compound destruction and removal efficiencies (99.99%) are achievable in these facilities. Effective (99%) control of HCl emissions was attained in facilities handling chlorinated organic wastes. The current EPA particulate standard of 180-mg/dry m3 was the most difficult standard to attain for incinerators.