New Process Converts PCBs

October 1, 1994

3 Min Read
New Process Converts PCBs


Princeton, N.J. - Before its identification with the widespread pollution of soil and water, polychlorinated bi-phenyls (PCBs) were the most popular industrial oils for high temperature applications.

Although PCBs are among the most difficult compounds to destroy, two Princeton University chemists, Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz and Dr. Yumin Liu, have been issued a patent for a PCB destroying process.

The chemists cited two major loopholes with the current cleanup procedures: high costs and ineffectiveness.

The older method strips off the contaminated soil and then ships it for disposal at a landfill or incinerator. This procedure does not correct the problem but only transfers it to a landfill, according to the researchers. Also, if soil is incinerated, toxic residues can be left behind in the remaining soil or produced as a by-product of incineration.

The new process reportedly destabilizes PCBs to the point at which the chlorine dissociates from the PCB molecule, Schwartz said. Ordinary soil bacteria can break the resulting compound down into harmless by-products. The key element in this process is removing the chlorine to reduce the PCB into a degradable form.

The technology, which has been licensed to a New York-based start-up company, Xetex Corp., will be tested on a contaminated site in Pennsylvania by the end of this year. Following the field tests, an application for approval and certification from the Environ-mental Protection Agency will be filed.

The research project was sponsored by Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., a natural gas pipeline company which, under the terms of a court settlement with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, is responsible for cleaning up sites in 14 states.

For additional information, contact: Michael Berns, Xetex Corp., 330 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017. (212) 599-3131; Bruce M. Collins, Mathews Woodbridge & Col-lins, 100 Thanet Circle, Suite 306, Princeton, N.J. 08450. (609) 924-3773; or Jean Mahoney, Princeton University, (609) 258-3097.

Acquisitions Environmental Services of America Inc., New-ark, N.J., has acquired Earth Science Technologies Inc., Louisville, Ky., and formed a new subsidiary, ENSA Envir-onmental Consulting Inc.

Hatcher-Sayre Inc., Lexing-ton, Ky., has been acquired by Shield Environmental Asso-ciates Inc., Lexington, Ky., and Cleveland Capital Holdings Inc., Charlotte, N.C.

Agreements N-Viro Interna-tional Corp., Toledo, Ohio, and N-Viro Recovery Inc., Houston, have agreed to jointly develop marketing efforts in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The team will operate under the name Pan-A-merican N-Viro Inc.

Contracts Keith Manufac-turing Co., Madras, Ore., has been awarded a contract to build conveyor belts and re-ceiving tunnels for the B.C.H. Generation Facility, a waste-to-energy plant in Fayetteville, N.C.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded Roy F. Weston Inc., West Chester, Pa., an environmental investigation and engineering support contract for a U.S. Department of Defense depot in New Cum-berland, Pa.

New Address Environmental Products & Services Inc. has moved its Boston office to 99 Marginal St., Chelsea, Mass. 02150. (617) 884-8884.

New Company G.L. Macha-do & Associates, Zephyrhills, Fla., will offer agronomic and consulting services to the or-ganic compost industry and recycling coordinators.

New Facility Waste Manage-ment International plc, Lon-don, and the government of In-donesia have opened the first hazardous waste treatment center in Indonesia. The PT fa-cility will process and dispose of industrial hazardous waste.

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