The Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Management program directs the storage, treatment, and disposal of waste generated by DOE's activities. In support of this mission, the Waste Management program uses a variety of treatment technologies to change the characteristics of the waste so that it may be more easily managed.
What Is Waste Treatment?
Waste treatment techniques are used to change the physical, chemical, or biological character of the waste, to reduce its volume and/or toxicity, and to make the waste safer for disposal. Waste treatment may be required for radioactive, hazardous, and other DOE wastes. However, DOE does not treat all of its wastes. Some solid sanitary waste does not require treatment prior to disposal, and hazardous wastes are treated by commercial treatment facilities. Mixed wastes (which contain both hazardous and radioactive components) pose special management challenges since they are difficult to treat with existing treatment technologies. These wastes are prohibited from disposal unless they have been treated to specific standards. DOE has worked with its state and Federal regulators and the public to identify and develop appropriate treatment strategies for mixed waste, and is now implementing the site treatment plans developed under the Federal Facility Compliance Act.