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AN OVERVIEW: DECISION-MAKING FRAMEWORK FOR THE ANALYSIS OF ALTERNATIVES FOR THE LONG TERM MANAGEMENT OF MERCURY
Randall*, P. AN OVERVIEW: DECISION-MAKING FRAMEWORK FOR THE ANALYSIS OF ALTERNATIVES FOR THE LONG TERM MANAGEMENT OF MERCURY. Presented at Persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic (PBT) Plenary Meeting, Washington, DC, 06/19/02.
Over the past decade, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has promoted the use of alternatives to mercury because it is a persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemical. The Agency's long-term goal for mercury is the elimination of mercury released to the air, water, and land from anthropogenic sources. The use of mercury in products and processes has decreased. The Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have excess mercury stockpiles that are no longer needed. Mercury cell chlor-alkali plants, although still the largest worldwide users of mercury, are discontinuing the use of mercury in favor of alternative technologies. Therefore, there is a need to consider possible retirement options for excess mercury.
In the USEPA, the Office of Solid Waste(OSW), working with the Office of Research and Development (ORD) and DOE, is evaluating technologies to permanently stabilize and dispose of wastes containing mercury. Furthermore, OSW is considering revisions to the Land Disposal restrictions (LDRs) for mercury. These revisions will address the Hg Stockpile and retirement issue. However, the regulatory system currently strongly supports all recycling initiatives and the concept of retirement is in its infancy as far as conceptualization is concerned.
As noted above, the Agency has focused its efforts on the reduction of current uses of mercury and future releases of mercury to the environment. The agency has focused on recycling (retorting) for mercury-containing hazardous wastes and has only performed preliminary investigations of other management options. Analysis has not been performed at the level of detail necessary to make decisions on retirement options and, in any case, data is not presently available on many of the commercially available technologies. However, despite the unavailability of information, there is a need to examine potential scenarios for the long-term management of mercury.
This presentation will provide an overview of an approach for a decision-making framework to analyze many options for the long term management of excess mercury.