Disposal of the hazardous waste has been a cause of concern from the time immemorial. Such poisonous toxic waste has a numerous disadvantages ranging from injuries and death to even permanent birth defects. This hazardous waste when dumped in an open area even used to contaminate the water, posing a threat to the aquatic life. To tackle this disastrous problem US military thus came out with the concept of disposal site.
A site which is generally used for accumulation of waste with the primary purpose of disposal or treatment of such waste is called a disposal site. Before the existence of such disposal sites it was a usual practice to dump the hazardous waste in an open area. The primary aim of such disposal site was to eradicate such practices to an extent. Basin F disposal site was a similar initiative with the same objective to eradicate the practices of open dumping of hazardous waste. It does hold a feeling of gratitude to Rock Mountain Arsenal (RMA) for its inception. Rock Mountain Arsenal located at the western edge of the Colorado plains near the foothills of Rocky Mountains was established by the US Army in 1942 year. The primary aim behind its establishment was productions of chemical warfare agents like mustard gas whose disposal was again a big matter of concern. Evolution of disposal sites hence played a role of protagonist in addressing this issue.
Interestingly, after world war II, the Army further encourages its use and even the private companies was brought under its ambit moreover, the private companies were asked to lease the facility in order to faster economic growth without keeping national security at bay. Certain instances such as that of Julius Hyman and company being provided with lease under this program to produce pesticide in 1942, can too be quoted. This Julius Hyman and company was later acquired by shell chemical company in 1952 which further augmented the production of agricultural pesticide on the site.
The vastness of the issues however later lead to establishment of six disposal basins namely basin A, basin B, basin C, basin D, basin E and basin F. These basins provided for the disposal of contaminated liquid waste from chemical manufacturing industries. Basin A was fore-mostly developed as an evaporative basin to address the problem of contaminated liquid waste whereas basin B, basin C, basin D and basin E were used to hold the overflow of liquid waste from pre-existing basins. The use of basin A for addressing the liquid waste was although discontinued later in 1956 when chemical sewer was instead constructed to convey the waste to basin F. Basin F Therefore was constructed as an asphalt-lined evaporation site by the army, in 1956 it was constructed as a pond to provide storage to waste by-product from Arsenal Manufacturing Operation. Moving into specification it is observed that basin F was built with a catalytically asphalt liner which was 10 millimetre thick covered with a 12 inch (300 millimetres) protective site blanket it has the maximum capacity of 243 million US gallons which thus covered approximately 93 acres. (“ Rocky Mountain Arsenal”)
Moreover, later in the year 1981 the contaminated liquid waste was drained from basin F and was transferred to three holding tanks and two double lined ponds. The data reveal that between the years 1993 to 1995, approximately 11 million gallons of hazardous waste liquid from holding tanks and ponds were incinerated in submerged quenches incineration on site. While incineration does not totally replace disposal site landfilling, it to an extent reduces the volume of disposal. Significantly, about 80000 gallons of rinse water from the holding tanks and ponds it too incinerated to onsite quenches. The remaining solid waste on the other pond in basin F was consolidated and contained in an approved 15 acre done shaped chamber. The chamber was double lined and was covered with waste pile known as basin F waste pile. As the name suggests this basin F waste pile comprised of solid dredge which was mainly extracted from and beneath the basin F. Later the system was further modified for betterment. In 2006 and 2007 the waste piles was excavated and taken to enhanced triple lines landfill. (“ Rocky Mountain Arsenal”)
However, the problem related with hazardous waste took a humungous shape in 1950. During this period the residents living near the site began to advocate there concern about RMA as soon as some damage to the crop was noticed. The problem aroused as the army began to dispose the liquid chemical waste of the basin F project into a 12045 foot deep, injection well after the basin F original lines began to leak. As a result of the community action hype in 1980s, the army initiated with 14 interim remedial actions (IRA) for soil, actions majority focussed on immediate clean-up while the site was under extensive observation and study. The scenario prevailing further deepened. One of the 14 interim remedial actions attracted a strong community interest and involvement
The interim response action for RMA basin F involved placing if soil and sludge’s which were being contaminated by the constituent of basin into basin F waste pile. The waste pile was actually being operated in substantive compliance along with the requirement of Resonance conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Colorado hazardous waste Management Act (CHWMA). The RCRA sparkled in the picture after being amended by 1984 Hazardous and solid waste Amendment. The basin F IRA originally began in March 1988 which involved transfer of basin F liquid to 1. 5 million gallon holding tanks and to double lined holding pond. Basin F waste pile’s mechanics reveal that it includes leachate collection system and a leak detection and collection system. The response action plan on the other hand describes the constitution of waste pile and its component system. It further elaborates the Mechanism that is important for proper and timely detection and response to abnormal liquids in leak detection and collection system.
Further during into the specification of IRA the various components involved are implicitly evoked. Waste pile, an important component of IRA when portrayed in relevance to basin F can be well understood. It is a double lined, enclosed and capped waste pile located over the portion of basin F site formerly located of RMA. The waste pile even contains material from the former basin F disposal site during IRA. Approximately 5000 cubic yards of excavated debris was placed into three double lined cells. Another important component is the linear system which is composed of two high densities polyethylene (HDPE) 60 ml liners, two 100 ml genets, a 12 ounce geotextile and a 36 inch soil layer yet, another important components is leachate collection system. The basin F pile is divided into three cells, each of which are embedded with a system to collect leachate these cells were basically created by grading the base of waste pile at the time of construction in order to provide a low point with in each cell.
A ridge too was constructed between each cell. The partition thus made the entire process totally systematic.
Moreover Basin F IRA involved the transfer of about a million gallon of basin F liquid waste to three tanks holding about 1. 3 million gallon already and about. 6. 5 million gallon to double lines holding ponds. The project to remove 600000 cube yards of sludge and soil buried beneath the basin F. This was later placed in basin F waste pile. So far it was too good but this idealistic picture to get several obstacles to trying to taint the image. One of the major problem poser was rainfall the. The excess rainfall thus increased the level the basin F liquid posing an urgent need for establishment of second double lined holding pond. Once the liquid in the basin F drained away, the process of drying of the soil, liner and sediment began. The project too caused a bad odour leading to discomfort of the community nearby. To address the problem of odour the army intervened and distributed air purifiers to the affected area’s residents till the time the process of soil drying was carried out. This was not a vague step. Several meeting were held and once assurance of no acute health impacts were observed, the army went for simple air purifiers. But the solution was temporary which surely could not be a permanent answer by any means. Hence, in mid 1990s the officials finally decided to incinerate the liquid waste by means of submerged quench incinerators. This was how incinerators began to process the basin F liquid in 1993. But the matter of concern still remained the problem of odour which was only partially addressed by that time. The complete relief from the odour problem was only achieved once the Basin F disposal site was excavated in 1988. (“ Basin F”)
Basin F disposal site did a commendable job and won praises for its contribution. Although there were certain lacunas, but surely there are not strong enough to overshadow the appreciable contribution of the Basin F disposal site. The world is demanding for more of such initiatives.
(2014). Retrieved 11 November 2014, from https://web. archive. org/web/20070624204523/http://www. pmrma. army. mil/pdfs/OverviewBasinFrev2. pdf
Response Action Plan for the Basin F Interim Response Action Waste Pile. (1992) (1st ed., pp. 1-6). Retrieved from http://www. dtic. mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a289080. pdf
Wikipedia,. (2014). Basin F. Retrieved 11 November 2014, from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Basin_F
Www2. epa. gov,. (2014). Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Retrieved 11 November 2014, from http://www2. epa. gov/region8/rocky-mountain-arsenal