Original Date: 09/15/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Expertise in Environmental Compliance
The Ammunition Equipment Directorate (AED) developed a database system that allowed Tooele Army Depot (TEAD) to reduce its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance costs by 90%. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, EPA regulations state that a full analysis of waste materials and an assessment of its impact on the environment must be completed prior to a company being granted a permit for disposal. Due to a lack of in-house expertise in this area, companies must often hire environmental consulting firms to perform the required analyses. This is a time consuming and expensive process. The results of these analyses do not take into account the method of disposal or the original manufacturing process (i.e., welding), which can affect the type of hazardous emissions during the disposal process.
Under the direction of the Defense Ammunition Center, the AED developed a database to predict the combustion products and thermodynamic results of various disposal methods. These predictions can be performed to assess the potential environmental impact of disposal and to satisfy EPA reporting requirements. Through the use of the database, named MERLIN, the AED provides the ammunition community the unique service of making predictions for the demilitarization of munitions. AED is known worldwide as an expert in environmental compliance of munitions disposal systems.
MERLIN is a PC-based software program that is fully compatible with the U. S. Military MIDAS system, which catalogs information on munitions to the ingredient level. MERLIN uses MIDAS or other sources of data to define the chemical makeup of the product to be disposed. MERLIN can also be used to evaluate the thermodynamic and hazardous properties that will result during incineration, open burning, detonation, and other waste handling processes.
To obtain a permit to dispose of a single waste item, the cost could be as much as $1,000 per week for a company to hire a consulting firm to perform the analysis required to comply with EPA regulations. A five-week process would cost $5,000. MERLIN can be used to perform the required analysis in approximately one week at an estimated cost of $500. This process time will be reduced as MERLIN becomes more automated. Currently, calculations that relate to the method of disposal are done by hand. As funding is made available, AED will add features to MERLIN allowing these calculations to be done automatically.
AED’s current customers are military bases and government activities having munitions disposal requirements. However, a tool such as MERLIN can be utilized by any industry having waste handling and EPA compliance issues.
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