U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division


Treatment Technologies

Remediation technologies for the cleanup of dioxin-contaminated soils and sediments are still being developed, but many of the accepted techniques rely on thermal destruction, which are energy intensive. Heat-based destruction techniques developed in the last two decades for treating dioxin-contaminated soil and debris include rotary kiln incineration, liquid injection incineration, fluidized bed/circulating fluidized bed, high-temperature fluid wall destruction (advanced electric reactor), infrared destruction, plasma arc pyrolysis, supercritical water oxidation, and in situ vitrification.

When the Times Beach, Missouri, cleanup began in the 1980s, only rotary kiln incineration had been fully demonstrated and was commercially available and permitted for cleaning up dioxin in soil. Difficulties with the permitting of innovative remediation technologies continues to be a barrier to development and implementation of new cleanup methods for this hazardous and recalcitrant compound.

Promising dechlorination methods for dioxin destruction are in varying stages of development: KPEG4, APEG-PLUS, base-catalyzed decomposition, thermal desorption/UV destruction, and thermal gas-phase reductive dechlorination, which combine dechlorination and incineration.

Bioremediation is regarded as an attractive possibility for cleaning up dioxin-contaminated soil, but its real applicability and effectiveness is unknown. The following technical obstacles continue to limit the application of bioremediation: 1) only very specialized biological systems can be effective against the high toxicity, low volubility, and high absorptivity of dioxin; 2) a very stringent cleanup standard must be met; and 3) it may be difficult to find a microorganism that can effectively deactivate dioxins under the different conditions present at existing dioxin-contaminated sites.

Adapted from:

Dioxin Treatment Technologies
U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment. OTA-BP-O-93, 1991.

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Reports | Biological Methods | Physical/Chemical Methods | Thermal Methods | Site-Specific Information | Literature References


Adobe PDF LogoDioxin Treatment Technologies
U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment. OTA-BP-O-93, 71 pp, 1991.

Covers developed and developing thermal and nonthermal treatment techniques, approaches such as stabilization and storage, and advantages and disadvantages of their use.

Adobe PDF LogoPolychlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin and Polychlorodibenzo-Furan Removal and Destruction
Stavan Patel, Michael D. Kaminski, Luis Nunez.
Argonne National Laboratory, ANL-CMT-03/4, 17 pp, 2003.
Contact: Mike Kaminski, kaminski@cmt.anl.gov

Provides a brief overview of technologies used to destroy or separate dioxins and furans from environmental samples as background for developing a magnetic particles technology for large-scale, cost-effective destruction of dioxins and furans in fresh water, sludge, or soil.

Adobe PDF LogoReference Guide to Non-combustion Technologies for Remediation of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Soil, Second Edition - 2010

This report is the second edition of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (US EPA's) 2005 report and provides a high level summary of information on the applicability of existing and emerging noncombustion technologies for the remediation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in soil. Since the publication of this report in 2005, nine (9) additional chemicals have been listed in the Stockholm Convention; this brings the total number of chemicals currently listed as POPs under the Stockholm Convention to twenty-one (21). In addition, three (3) POPs are currently under consideration.

Adobe PDF LogoReview of Emerging, Innovative Technologies for the Destruction and Decontamination of POPs and the Identification of Promising Technologies for Use in Developing Countries
Univ. of Auckland, New Zealand. United Nations Environment Programme, Global Environmental Facility, Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel. GF/8000-02-02-2205, 138 pp, 2004.

The proceedings of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environmental Facility United Nations Environment Programme workshop held in Washington, DC, 3-7 October 2003, were developed into a review of approximately 50 existing non-combustion technologies for the destruction of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Each technology was placed into one of five categories: (1) commercialized technologies with considerable experience, (2) technologies near or at the start of commercialization, (3) promising technologies, (4) technologies requiring significant research, and (5) technologies unlikely to be applicable for destruction of POPs stockpiles. Five emerging and promising technologies have been identified with encouragement for further evaluation and funding for rapid commercialization, i.e., ball milling, the GeoMelt(TM) process, mediated electrochemical oxidation via CerOx, mediated electrochemical oxidation via the AEA Silver II Process, and catalytic hydrogenation. Technology fact sheets and presentations are also available at this site.

Adobe PDF LogoTechnical Resource Document: Treatment Technologies for Dioxin-Containing Wastes
Mark Arienti, Lisa Wilk, Michael Jasinski, and Nancy Prominski.
EPA 600-2-86-096, 258 pp, 1986.

The Use and Effectiveness of Phytoremediation to Treat Persistent Organic Pollutants
Kristi Russell, Environmental Careers Organization.
U.S. EPA, Technology Innovation and Field Services Division, Washington, DC. 49 pp, 2005.

The United Nations Environment Program has classified 12 persistent organic pollutants (POPs)—i.e., PCBs, dioxins, furans, and nine pesticides—as being the compounds most hazardous to human health and the environment. This report discusses the application of phytoremediation to POPs-contaminated media and shows the potential for use of the technology in developing and transitional economies.

Biological Methods

Biodegradation of Dioxins and Furans
Reihe: Environmental Intelligence Unit
Rolf-Michael Wittich.
Springer-Verlag, ISBN: 3-540-63996-9, 289 pp, c1998.

Biodegradation of PCDDs/PCDFs and PCBs
Urbaniak, M.
Biodegradation: Engineering and Technology, R. Chamy and F. Rosenkranz (eds). Intech Open Science, ISBN: 978-953-51-1153-5, Chapter 4:73-100(2013)

This review examines the physical and chemical properties of dioxins and PCBs and how they can be broken down in the environment. Microbiological transformation is discussed with reference to aerobic, anaerobic, and sequential anaerobic-aerobic conditions. Physical transformations include photochemical and thermal degradation. Different phytoremediation processes also can effect environmental degradation of dioxins and PCBs.

Adobe PDF LogoQuantifying Enhanced Microbial Dehalogenation Impacting the Fate and Transport of Organohalide Mixtures in Contaminated Sediments
Haggblom, M., D. Fennell, L. Rodenburg, L. Kerkhof, and K. Sowers.
SERDP Project ER-1492, 221 pp, 2012

The project investigated techniques and amendments to enhance microbial dehalogenation in sediments contaminated with organohalide mixtures and developed methods and tools to monitor the effectiveness of biostimulation processes. Organohalide-contaminated sediments were found to contain diverse communities of dehalogenating microorganisms. Results show that dechlorination of historical PCB and PCDD/F contaminant mixtures can be stimulated by addition of amendments and/or bioaugmentation with dechlorinating bacteria.

Adobe PDF LogoSite Emerging Technology Bulletin: Photolysis/Biodegradation of PCB and PCDD/PCDF Contaminated Soils
U.S. EPA, Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) Program.
EPA 540-F-94-502, 2 pp, 1994.
Contact: Randy Parker, parker.randy@epa.gov

Physical/Chemical Methods

Adobe PDF LogoBench-scale Testing of Photolysis, Chemical Oxidation, and Biodegradation of PCB Contaminated Soils, and Photolysis of TCDD Contaminated Soils
U.S. EPA, Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) Program.
EPA 540-R-94-531, 99 pp, 1994.

Bench-scale tests of a two-phase detoxification process (UV with solvent addition followed by biodegradation) for PCBs and TCDD showed no apparent destruction of the dioxin in the soil, though PCB reductions ranged from less than 15 to 69%.

Adobe PDF LogoField Experiment on Thin-Layer Capping in Ormefjorden and Eidangerfjorden, Telemark: Functional Response and Bioavailability of Dioxins, 2009-2011
Schaanning, M.T. and I. Allan.
Norwegian Institute for Water Research, REPORT SNO 6285-2012, 92 pp, 2012

A large-scale field study of in situ thin-layer capping was carried out at four sites in the dioxins-contaminated Grenlandfjord, Norway, to test and compare the effectiveness of active caps (2.5 cm thickness) consisting of powdered activated carbon (AC) mixed into clean clay, and nonactive caps (5 cm thickness) of clay without AC and of crushed limestone. Fields with areas of 10,000 to 40,000 sq m were established at 30 to 100 m water depth. With clay and AC treatments, bioaccumulation and leakage of dioxins was 67-91% lower than at the uncapped reference fields. At the two fields treated with limestone gravel and dredged clay without activated carbon, cap efficiencies declined to less than 46% over a 2-year period. The use of AC decreased both the bioavailability of dioxins present below the cap and the bioaccumulation and leakage of dioxins entering the cap after placement.

Adobe PDF LogoPotential Applicability of Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment Technologies to RCRA Waste Streams and Contaminated Media
U.S. EPA, Technology Innovation Office.
EPA 542-R-00-004. 88 pp, 2000.

Examines seven ex situ technologies, including Commodore Advanced Sciences's Solvated Electron Technology and ELI Eco Logic's Gas Phase Chemical Reduction Technology that claim dioxin destruction capability.

Teledyne-Commodore Solvated Electron Technology Package
Review and Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons. National Academies Press, p 133-155, 1999.

Technology Performance Review: Selecting and Using Solidification/Stabilization Treatment for Site Remediation
U.S. EPA, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Cincinnati, OH.
EPA 600-R-09-148, 28 pp, 2009

Solidification/stabilization (S/S) is used to prevent migration of contaminants from contaminated soil, sludge, and sediment. Solidification refers to a process that binds a contaminated medium with a reagent, such as Portland cement, changing its physical properties. Stabilization involves a chemical reaction that reduces the leachability of a waste. The effectiveness of S/S has been demonstrated for non-volatile metals (e.g., arsenic, chromium), radioactive materials, halogenated semivolatiles, non-halogenated nonvolatiles and semivolatiles, PCBs, and pesticides, and potentially dioxins/furans. For treating organic contaminants (e.g., creosote), the use of certain materials such as organophilic clay and activated carbon, either as a pretreatment or as additives in cement, can improve contaminant immobilization. This review addresses important factors to consider in the selection of S/S treatment and discusses its implementation at seven sites.

Thermal Methods

Adobe PDF LogoAmerican Combustion Pyretron Destruction System. Applications Analysis Report
U.S. EPA, Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) Program.
EPA 540-A5-89-008, 51 pp, 1989.
Contact: Laurel Staley, staley.laurel@epa.gov

Adobe PDF LogoDestruction of PCBs in Contaminated Soils at Mare Island Navy Base: A Demonstration of In Situ Thermal Desorption Thermal Blankets and Wells
Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center Technical Data Sheet.
TDS-2044-ENV, 4 pp, 1997.
Contact: Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center, 805-982-5560.

Adobe PDF LogoSepradyne/Raduce High Vacuum Thermal Process for Destruction of Dioxins in INEEL/WERF Fly Ash
J.W. Adams, P.D. Kalb, and D.B. Malkmus.
Brookhaven National Lab., BNL-52631, 16 pp, 1999.

An indirectly heated, high temperature (900°C), high vacuum (28 inch Hg) rotary kiln developed and patented to treat a dioxin-contaminated mixed-waste incinerator ash successfully decomposed dioxins and furans at both low (450°C) and high (700-800°C) temperature regimes and achieved substantial volume and mass reduction of the ash.

Adobe PDF LogoTechnical Guidelines for On-Site Thermal Desorption of Solid Media and Low Level Mixed Waste Contaminated with Mercury and/or Hazardous Chlorinated Organics
The Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC), 68 pp, 1998.

Site-Specific Information

Federal Remediation Technology Roundtable Technology Cost and Performance Reports

Literature References

Technology Innovation News Survey Archives
The Technology Innovation News Survey contains market/commercialization information; reports on demonstrations, feasibility studies and research; and other news relevant to the hazardous waste community interested in technology development. This report is updated every two weeks.

Adobe PDF LogoTreatment of Dioxin Contaminated Soils: Literature Review and Remediation Method Development
Strandberg, J., H. Oden, R.M. Nieto, and A. Bjork.
Swedish Environmental Research Institute, IVL Report B1993, 83 pp, Nov 2011

This report begins with a literature review of documented soil remediation techniques tested for dioxins and then describes an investigation the potential of using a photolytic catalyst (titanium dioxide) in combination with UV light to oxidize organic substances into water and carbon dioxide, and thus to remove the dioxins. Appendix A contains a case study of a pilot study of alkaline extraction of dioxins and PAHs from soil.