In the 1960's, much effort was expended on cleaning up the air and water. Air
Quality and Water Quality Acts were written and inpleinented in many states and
coninunities. New products such as unleaded gasoline and water base paints were
developed to aid in minimizing pollution. Conversion from oil fired combustion
systems to natural gas fired for comfort and industrial heating was the normal
In 1970, the Clean Air Act was passed. There was concern on how to safely
dispose of hazardous wastes. Indiscriminate dumping of chemical process wastes
had been the practice since the birth of the chemical industry in the USA. Land
dumping, inadequate landfills, and river-ocean dumping were the most economical
ways to dispose of chemical wastes. Processes that would have reduced or
eliminated wastes were disregarded as being too costly.
Many of the major chemical companies who regarded a safe environment as their
responsibility installed waste treatment and disposal facilities on their plant
sites. Many of these plants elected to use incinerators as the treatment process.
This was not always the most economical method, but in many cases it was the only
method of disposal that provided a safe and sure method of maximum destruction.
Environmental concern over contamination from uncontrolled land disposal sites,
and the emergence of tougher regulations for land disposal provide incentives for
industry to employ a wide variety of traditional and advanced technologies for
managing hazardous wastes.
Incineration systems utilizing proper design, operation, and maintenance
provides the safest and in the long run, the most economical avenue to the
maximum level of destruction of organic hazardous wastes.