In secluded laboratories in Edison, N.J., Environmental Protection Agency scientists labored for years to make a "blue monster."
The monster, named for its color and size, is a $2.2 million mobile incinerator that can gulp 6 tons daily of such hazardous fluids as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), at a daily operating cost of $10,000. It can also treat about 100 metric tons daily of solid hazardous waste.
Administrator Anne M. Gorsuch, who recently introduced the "blue monster" to the press, said, "The mobile incinerator is designed to be sent directly to abandoned hazardous waste sites or to chemical spills anywhere in the country," and thus eliminate the need to transport the dangerous substances elsewhere.
The only fully operating incinerators capable of handling PCBs are bolted down in Deer Park, Tex., and El Dorado, Ark., and don't move. These types of wastes have also been incinerated at sea.
The mobile incinerator will undergo a PCB trial in New Jersey this summer before it begins a series of demonstrations. It is designed to destroy organic chemicals and wastes such as PCBs, Kepone and other pesticides.
The "blue monster" consists of four trailers, including a combustion chamber that can reach 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature EPA believes will enable the incinerator to provide greater than 99.9 percent destruction.
EPA's intent in building the incinerator was to demonstrate the practicality of the system and encourage industry to build others.