Issued 12/29/98
Mona S. Rowe (516) 344-5056

 

BROOKHAVEN LAB DEVELOPS PROCESS FOR SAFE DISPOSAL OF MERCURY

Senior Research Engineer Paul Kalb and his team at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new process for treating liquid mercury as well as mercury-contaminated wastes, which may include radioactive material. Mercury is a toxic element. It is soluble in water, volatile in air and chemically active.

The conventional process for treating mercury-contaminated soil creates a secondary waste problem. In contrast, Brookhaven's process generates virtually no waste because it chemically bonds to a sulfur-polymer cement. As a result, mercury does not leach into the soil. Kalb also noted that his process meets both current performance criteria and more stringent future standards being established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Brookhaven team recently demonstrated the process on actual radioactive and mercury-contaminated soils to a group of industry and government officials. Here, two of the team members, Larry Milian (left) and Jay Adams (right), prepare to discharge the mercury cement from the mixer during the demonstration. Plans are being made to transfer this technology to the commercial/industrial sector.

This work was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science & Technology Mixed Waste Focus Area (DOE EM-50) and the BNL Office of Environmental Restoration (DOE EM-40).

#98-126
Neg. # D0111298