The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Vitrification

 

Cost Estimations

Depending on the size of operation, operating costs in 1994 were estimated at $100-200 per ton of dry waste (Bingham and Hand, 2006).  A US Navy study on vitrification of hazardous waste using a melting system found capital and installation costs to be US$2-2.5 million. Operating costs ranged from $100-420 per ton, including labor, fuel and maintenance. Vitrification costs may reasonably be expected to be in the range US$100-500 per ton of remediated materials.

Total cost of vitrification treatment composes of a variety of aspects, site activities, labor, power charge, etc. Overall cost varies among different vitrification techniques, Table 1.

 

Table 1. Cost estimation of sample ISV (Source: USEPA 1992a)

Year

Cost range ($/ton)

1965

$117-165*

1966

$96-210*

1988

$163-349*

1989

$166-175*

1990

$103-382*

1991

$360-390*

*Calculated from reported figures assuming 1.2 tons/yd3.

Several factors determine the overall cost of implementing an ISV system. The primary factors affecting ISV operating costs are the cost of electricity at the site, depth and rate of treatment, and soil moisture content. For recent years, the operation cost for a typical ISV system is in the $360 to $500 per ton range. However, the total costs depends on other factors such as treatability/pilot testing, site preparation, mobilization, and site restoration and long-term monitoring (USEPA, 1997d).

When treating sites with waste materials which need only one remediation technology, vitrification may not be the ideal method, due to its higher unit operational cost comparedto other technologies, Table 2. However, when dealing with sites with waste or contaminated soils that need multiple remedial technologies, vitrification could be the most cost-effective method.

Table 2. Cost comparison of selected soil technologies (modified Grubb and Sitar, 1995)

Technology

Operational Cost ($/m3)

Bioremediation

20-80

Permeable Reactive Walls

65-130

Water Flooding

65-130

Soil Vapor Extraction

65-130

Radio Frequency Heating

85-210

Soil Flushing

100-160

Air Sparging

100-160

Electro-osmosis

100-200

Electrokinectics

>17/Mg

Vitrification

300-650

 

 Regulatory Considerations

 

The primary regulatory concerns related to an ISV system are the emissions of the off-gas treatment system during ISV operations, the wastewater generated during off-gas treatment, and the stability and reduced toxicity of the resulting vitrified product.

 

Federal environmental regulations that are particularly pertinent to ISV system include:

 

  • The comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • The Clean Air Act (CAA)
  • The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
  • The Toxic Substances Control Act
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Regulations

State and local regulatory requirements could be more stringent, thus must also be addressed by remedial managers.

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