For the past ten years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been evaluating plasma-based thermal treatment systems for hazardous waste. Although many attempts have been made to evaluate these devices, very little performance data have been gathered. EPA is still interested in evaluating the usefulness of plasma based hazardous waste treatment and routinely receives proposals for testing new and different plasma systems. Unfortunately, however, elements of many of these proposals suggest that these studies would be a little more successful than previous ones. Part of the reason for this may be that the developers of plasma systems do not clearly understand what is required of a hazardous waste treatment system, especially one which will be used to treat hazardous wastes onsite. The paper discusses factors that, based on EPA's experience, are key to the successful implementation of a plasma-based waste treatment process.