Perma-Fix Environmantal Services

Radioactive and Mixed Waste Services


In-container Stabilization With our four fully permitted and licensed facilities, Perma-Fix has the most comprehensive and complete mixed waste treatment capabilities in the United States.

Acceptable Wastes for Stabilization

Perma-Fix accepts most low-level radiological wastes with RCRA/TSCA hazardous constituents or characteristics for treatment including:

  • Corrosives, reactives, oxidizers, and metal bearing wastes
  • Debris and dry active waste (paper, plastic, trash)
  • Caustic cleaners
  • Nitrated wastes
  • Spent acid sludge
  • Chromium and cadmium plating sludge
  • Lead bearing wastes
  • Beryllium waste
  • Elemental mercury waste
  • Characteristic wastes (corrosivity, reactivity, toxic metals)

Applicable Treatment Processes

To determine the most applicable treatment process for a particular waste stream, Perma-Fix samples and analyzes the waste, examines all of the currently available options, and determines the option with the lowest cost to the customer. If necessary, Perma-Fix can develop new treatment and disposal approaches for unique or complex waste streams.

The Perma-Fix I Process

In-container Stabilization The Perma-Fix process consists of a series of processes that are used to perform sorting, sizing, and final treatment of wastes depending on the specific constituents of the waste and the required treatment method. The major processes within the system are described as follows:

Stabilization/Solidification – Stabilization or solidification is used to treat wastes to meet regulatory limits and to render the waste in an acceptable form for disposal. Depending on the disposal facility’s waste acceptance criteria (WAC), the waste is treated to meet either the toxicity characteristic limits in 40 CFR 261 or the applicable limits under the Universal Treatment Standards in 40 CFR 268.48. Solidification media used include cement, fly ash, polymers, and other reagents that react with hazardous constituents such as lead, cadmium, and chromium to render them non-leachable in the environment. The end product may be a solid monolith or an unconsolidated soil-like form, depending on the disposal facility’s WAC.

Chemical Extraction – Chemical extraction can be performed by a number of techniques (e.g., soil or debris washing) to remove the organic portion of the waste, to be treated separately. The residual waste can be further processed by stabilization, solidification, thermal desorption, or drying to ensure conformance with the disposal facility’s WAC.

Chemical Fixation – Chemical fixation is used for waste solids and sludges that contain hazardous metals. Wastes are sampled and analyzed upon receipt at Perma-Fix’s facilities to determine the appropriate treatment formula for the specific waste matrix. A chemical fixation agent is added to the waste, which reacts to produce a metal complex that is no longer leachable. The fixed metals and the rest of the waste matrix may then be solidified.

Metals Precipitation – Metals may be separated from certain liquid waste streams by chemically precipitating them into a low solubility form. The precipitate undergoes solidification, and the decanted liquids may be treated by a more cost-effective means (e.g., wastewater treatment and discharge). Precipitation may result in reduced disposal volumes over fixation.

Neutralization – The addition of applicable reagents to acidic or basic mixed wastes can render the wastes non-corrosive. After neutralization, wastes are processed by thermal or non-thermal means, depending on regulatory requirements, waste matrix, and cost considerations. Neutralization is an effective, low-cost treatment method since the simple addition of neutralizing reagents can remove the characteristic hazard.

Debris Treatment – Mixed wastes meeting the definition of debris under RCRA may be treated in a variety of ways to meet regulatory requirements. Debris that is amenable to size reduction is shredded, washed, and stabilized prior to disposal. Non-shredable debris (e.g., lead solids) can be treated by macro-encapsulation. This may be done using surface coating materials, such as polymeric organics, to form a jacket of inert organic material to substantially reduce surface exposure to potential leaching media; or by an approved alternate method.

Other Treatment – Specialized processes are used for certain waste types:

  • Cyanides - Alkaline chlorination is used to destroy cyanides in liquid waste streams and slurries.
  • Reactive Metals – A controlled reaction with a suitable medium safely treats reactive metals to prevent violent reactions, excessive heat generation, and formation of explosive gas mixtures. The deactivated material can then be solidified for disposal.
  • Amalgamation – Waste elemental mercury can be treated by amalgamation, a chemical reaction that forms a solid mercury/metal product that is non-leachable in the environment.