Market Size and Description

The scope of the RCRA management program can be assessed from many perspectives and levels of detail. From a national perspective, America produces annually approximately 1 ton of RCRA-regulated industrial hazardous waste for every man, woman, and child in the nation, at a cost of management and disposal exceeding $20 billion per year. Texas produces 20% of the national total, but hazardous wastes are produced in every city and state in the country.

These wastes must be managed in compliance with federal RCRA standards and at facilities permitted under federal or state authority. As a result of complex permitting standards and economic considerations, the market for commercial waste management services has evolved from what was previously a local or regional market to a market that is effectively national in scope. No individual state has the capabilities to manage all of the types or quantities of waste produced within its jurisdiction. All states participate in the interstate importation and exportation of waste, and, on average, each state exports hazardous waste to 19 states.

The Superfund program identifies and responds to environmental contamination resulting from abandoned or improperly controlled waste sites. In most instances, the materials managed at Superfund sites is RCRA waste, suitable for treatment or disposal at appropriately permitted commercial facilities. However, the contaminants may also be non-RCRA waste such as radioactive material and require different handling.

Currently there are more than 1200 sites on the Superfund National Priority List (NPL). These sites have gone through environmental impact assessments, as a result of which each has been characterized as posing an imminent risk to human health and the environment. Each NPL site will undergo additional, more detailed assessment including a determination of remedy, sources of funding, and implementation scheduling. In addition to the 1200 listed sites, there are an estimated 20,000 locations nationwide awaiting characterization.

In 1990, the federal funding for this program was reauthorized through the end of fiscal 1994 with a budget of $5.1 billion. This amount is in addition to the billions spent on remediation by private industry.

Figure 14 Matrix of technologies for liquids.

INCINERATION

LANDFILL

LIQUIDS

Figure 14 Matrix of technologies for liquids.

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