Thermal Methods of Hazardous Waste Management

Only a few types of waste would cause as much harm to human and animal health and the environment as hazardous waste. Waste is hazardous if it is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic. Ignitable waste is that with a flash point less than 1400F and corrosive if its pH is less than two or more than 12.5. Reactivity denotes waste that is explosive, capable of a violent reaction or detonation and unstable in water.

There are different methods used by hazardous waste disposal companies in Utah for the safe management of all types of waste that are deemed risky. The three primary classifications of these methods are thermal, biological, and physical disposal. Physical disposal encompasses solvent extraction, electrodialysis, sedimentation, evaporation, filtration, and distillation, while biological management includes compositing and anaerobic digestion of the waste.

The following are the standard methods of chemical treatment of hazardous waste:


This is the most commonly used method of thermal hazardous waste treatment. Incineration denotes the combustion of waste in an environment with oxygen. The incinerated waste is converted into ash, water vapor, and carbon dioxide, which can be used for energy in different domestic and industrial operations.

Other than energy supply, incineration will reduce the waste’s volume, render it harmless, reduce the production of methane, and reduce the waste’s transportation costs if done on site. Most people assume that incineration is a significant air pollutant source, but modern incinerators produce minimal waste to their surroundings.

Gasification and Pyrolysis

These are similar processes used for waste management through its exposure to low oxygen and high temperatures. In gasification, the waste is burnt under low oxygen, while pyrolysis includes no oxygen in the process. The waste is instead incinerated in a combination of non-combustible and combustible gases and pyroligneous liquids, which all produce a high heat value. Both pyrolysis and gasification produce no air pollutants.

In-Situ Thermal Treatment

collecting waste

These mobilize harmful waste in groundwater or soil through heat. The waste is collected where it will be treated using other techniques, though some elements in the hazardous waste are degraded during the mobilization.

In-situ thermal treatments are generally used for non-aqueous phase liquids that don’t readily dissolve in soil or groundwater and will contaminate them if not adequately treated. There are different energy generation methods used in in-situ thermal treatment, including electric resistance heating, steam-enhanced extraction, and thermal conduction heating.

Open Burning

In this method, the waste is burnt in an open field and the by-products released into the environment. Though used widely in the past, the use of open burning has reduced owing to the recognized effects of dioxins, particulate matter, polycyclic aromatic compounds, ash, and dioxins. Some municipals, however, still use it for the reduction of their collected hazardous waste since it is inexpensive.

There are different types of legislation needed for the above thermal management techniques for your hazardous waste. To avoid attracting harsh penalties opt for a certified waste management company rather than an in-house solution for the management of your hazardous waste. Moreover, this is a far cheaper and convenient option for your company than in-house waste management.