Environmetally Friendly Incinerator

Mickey | General | Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

With the recent push for more environmentally friendly operations, the debate for more incinerator technologies is increasing. It is estimated that 222 million tons of waste will be thrown out by Americans this year. This is a massive amount of material to process through landfills and can take up large amounts of space. Using incinerator procedures can lessen the impact on increasing landfills and the recent improvements in emissions technologies has helped reduce the amounts of dioxin and furan emitted. These improvements negate much of the concern that has been surrounding the regulation standards regarding emissions and pollutants from incinerator operations.

With the improvements, the U.K. Health Protection Agency stated that the concentrations of pollutants would only be a small contribution that would likely not be detectable. Incinerator plants can also be used to generate electricity and heat that can substitute power plants. Additionally, landfills produce methane emissions that are considered a contributing factor for greenhouse gases and by employing incinerator plants, even with the small amounts of pollutants emitted, there are reductions through the avoidance of landfill methane. Baghouse filters are used on modern incinerator plants and these remove very fine particles instead of releasing them into the atmosphere. For every ton of waste incinerated, it prevents approximately one ton of carbon dioxide or equivalently harmful gases being released by landfills.

When completing an incineration, there is an ash residue that remains. It is generally considered to be non-hazardous and can be put into landfills or used in construction aggregate as long as samples are tested for metals. This is viable solution for areas that already have a high density of residents and are finding it more difficult to find places to set aside for landfill disposal areas. When considering medical waste and sewage, which are generally considered bio-hazards, completing an incinerator procedure produces an ash from these materials that is non-hazardous. This is a great solution for materials that would be better if not found or left in a landfill area. Using incinerator plant services can increase the life of a landfill area by almost 90%. The benefits are increasing as the emissions concerns continue to improve and provide alternatives to the standard landfill practices with their methane emissions.

For people who debate against the installation if incinerator plants, the study from the U.K. Health Protection Agency needs to be further studied. There has been concern voiced over the undetectable small amounts of emissions. Fly ash also gives concern and must be safely disposed of and like illegal dumping practices, if incidences occur where the material is not handled appropriately it could be troublesome. Though the new incinerator models have much better emission practices, there are continued concerns about the dioxin and furan being emitted by old incinerator plants.

Incinerator services include a multitude of materials and may emit heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, chromium and cadmium which can be toxic in small amounts. The bottom ash can also contain higher levels of heavy metals and like the fly ash, would give cause for concern if not handled appropriately. Part of the reason why older models of incinerator plants are still in use is because of the initial building and operating costs which can take twenty to thirty years of operation to recover in profits. This locks in the business for a longer period of time once it has begun its current operation methods. Updating the technologies once it has been built can be much more difficult. Lastly, there is the visual aspect that comes with an incinerator plant. The tall chimney stacks are often considered undesirable by residents living in the area.

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