Did you know that 13 tons of hazardous waste are produced every second? Hazardous waste can do a lot of damage to people's health. It's also dangerous for the environment. Thus, hazardous waste clean up is an especially important task.
However, hazardous cleanup isn't easy. It requires the expertise of trained professionals to do it right.
Read on to find out a few ways it's cleaned up and handled to keep the public safe from harm.
Methods of Hazardous Waste Clean Up
The most effective way to clean up hazardous waste is to minimize its production. Of course, that's not always an option. Here are a few ways professionals handle it.
In Situ Thermal Treatment
In situ thermal treatment, or IST, can clean up contaminated outdoor areas. It employs technologies such as electrical resistance heating, radio-frequency heating, steam injection, and conductive heating.
They're used to treat a variety of chemicals. These include semivolatile organic compounds, non-chlorinated volatile organic compounds, oil and petroleum products, wood preserving compounds, and more.
IST works by heating the subsurface of an area and destroying contaminants and making removal easier.
Biohazards include saliva, blood and other bodily fluids, medical waste, mold, fungi, viruses, and bacteria. The cleanup method, and how extensive it needs to be, depends greatly on the type of hazardous material.
Mold, for example, is notoriously difficult to clean up. It can sometimes require the complete removal of the surface on which it exists.
Cleaning biohazards involves chemicals that neutralize and remove any potential contaminants in the area.
Nuclear cleanup probably sounds like a complicated, intimidating process - and it is. Nuclear waste and other radioactive materials pose an extreme risk to the public and must be handled in accordance with strict processes.
Nuclear waste, such as the fuel used in nuclear power plants, is solid when it first goes into the reactor and is solid when it's removed. Luckily, there isn't that much of it.
The fuel is first removed from the reactor and cooled in a storage pool - a process that can take 2 to 5 years. After that, they transfer it to dry casks where it's stored until they locate a suitable site to safely and permanently dispose of it.
Meth Lab Remediation
The production and/or use of methamphetamine involves many toxic chemicals and can cause an area to unfit for occupation.
Meth lab remediation is a multi-step process. When law enforcement clears the area, a hazardous cleanup team will need to come in and remove the dangerous chemicals or residue. The area must be secure and clear of any hazardous waste or drug paraphernalia before work can begin.
After that, ventilation is necessary. It includes opening doors and windows as well as the use of a HEPA filter before, during, and after remediation.
Sampling and testing are then performed to assess the extent of the contamination. It also helps clean-up teams determine if any surfaces are too contaminated for cleaning.
After sampling and testing are complete, we come up with a clean-up and disposal plan. The cleanup team removes any contaminated materials. Then they vacuum the floors using commercial-grade HEPA filters.
Cleanup teams conduct a preliminary wash of the hard surfaces, and clean and seal the HVAC system. Afterward, they thoroughly wash the property's hard surfaces.
Plumbing and septic systems are flushed clean. Those who produce methamphetamine often dump chemicals down the sink and toilet. This can cause the plumbing system to succumb to corrosion. In some cases, it can make them flammable.
Finally, clearance testing is conducted to ensure that the cleanup was effective at reducing contamination.
Trauma Scene Remediation
Trauma scenes refer to a place where someone is injured or killed. These places are sometimes contaminated with dangerous biological materials. These include blood, non-blood-borne organics, other bodily fluids, and more.
Cleanup involves professionals in full PPE (personal protective equipment) using special cleaning agents that will clean up potentially dangerous contaminants. This can include Hepatitis and HIV. All materials removed from the site are disposed of in compliance with DHS and OSHA.
HCi is licensed through the California Department of Health Services for Trauma Cleanup Services.
Electronic Waste Recycling
Electronic waste is a growing issue in society today. As more and more electronic devices are created and consumed, the resulting waste increases substantially.
Electronic waste poses significant issues with contamination. These devices often include hazardous materials such as lead, barium, phosphor, mercury, and more. If these materials are not handled appropriately, they can poison humans and the environment.
Recycling is the best method for controlling electronic waste. The recycling process begins by collecting the waste itself. It is then stored until sorted, dismantled, or shredded. Once the recycling plant separates the materials, they can sell or reuse them.
What Happens to Hazardous Waste After It's Cleaned Up?
When a facility generates hazardous waste, transport companies may take it to a hazardous waste facility. There, one of several things happens.
It receives treatment, undergoes recycling, is stored, or is disposed of. It all happens in compliance with the EPA's strict chemical enforcement guidelines. It may seem counter-intuitive, but recycling is the preferred method.
There are a lot of benefits to recycling hazardous waste. It reduces the consumption of raw materials and the volume of materials that needs treatment and disposal.
When it is not recycled, professionals take it to treatment storage and disposal facilities. These facilities follow stringent protocols to ensure the safety of employees and avoid contamination of soil, groundwater, and air.
HCI: the Solution for All Your Environmental Needs
Uncertified people should never engage in hazardous waste clean up. Our company has the qualifications necessary to deal with hazardous waste cleanup. Additionally, we're qualified to remove it and transfer it to the proper facilities.
No matter what type of service you require, we can handle everything. Our seamless operation handles packaging, manifesting, transportation, and disposal. If you'd like to know more about what we do and how we can help you, contact us today.