The expansion of technology has brought a critical need to dispose hazardous wastes safely and permanently. The historic approaches to disposal, such as land filling, discharge into waterways, and deep well injection have begun to exhibit severe environmental and human health safety problems. These in turn have resulted in legislation such as the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act, all of which regulate and establish responsibility for hazardous materials. One universally desirable feature in hazardous waste disposal is once-and-for-all destruction of the waste. Incineration (i.e., thermal oxidation) is considered by many to offer this feature. There is, however, a need to demonstrate destruction efficiency in order to satisfy environmental regulations and to aid in public acceptance of the process.
Establishing incineration destruction efficiency for regulatory compliance is a challenging technical problem owing to the variety of sampling and analysis techniques which may be involved. It is also a challenging documentation problem owing to the potential for “concerned citizen” initiated litigation. Both of these problems require application of sound quality assurance (QA) protocols in order to generate destruction eficiency data of known and documented quality. It is these QA protocols which are the subject of this presentation. Issues addressed include the representativeness of samples and sample collection, the precision and accuracy of analytical methods and destruction efficiency calculations, and the documentation associated with establishing data quality. Emphasis is placed on those QA approaches that can be applied to data sets of limited size normally associated with incineration destruction efficiency evaluations.