Avoid Costly Off-Site Hazardous Waste Disposal with TerraTherm’s Economical On-Site Heated-Box Approach

Transportation and disposal of soil or sediment impacted with hazardous levels of organic contamination can be costly and contributes to traffic congestion. In addition, the liability associated with the material tends to follow when shipped off site. If the material ends up in a landfill, that liability may never go away. Treating on-site eliminates these issues and with TerraTherm’s new thermal approach, it can yield significant savings for our clients.

Introducing In Pile Thermal Desorption® (IPTD®)

This ex-situ (above ground) technology can:

  • Treat polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin-contaminated materials on-site, quickly and efficiently,
  • Remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from mixed and hazardous wastes and reduce disposal costs,
  • Treat drill cuttings on site and avoid transportation,
  • Save money, and
  • Eliminate the liability of disposal.

IPTD® uses a heating principal called Thermal Conductive Heating (TCH), the process of heat flowing from the hot end of a solid object (like an iron rod) to the cold end.

TCH can also be applied in situ (below ground), in which case it is referred to as In Situ Thermal Desorption (ISTD).

Graphical representation of In Situ Thermal Desorption and In Pile Thermal Desorption

Graphical representation of In Situ Thermal Desorption and In Pile Thermal Desorption

With the use of IPTD®, material is heated and treated in either a large pile, or alternatively, in steel containers. Vapors are extracted from the soil and treated in our above ground treatment train. Some contaminants of concern decompose within the soil matrix during heating.

The IPTD®  process is best-suited for shallow, wide-spread contamination, capable of being excavated and stockpiled for on-site treatment, off-site disposal at a hazardous waste landfill, or incineration at an off-site treatment facility.

HB1100 – The New, Mobile Version of IPTD® 

IPTD®  has been successfully implemented to treat very large volumes of dioxin-contaminated material in Vietnam using IPTD®  at the scale of 40,000 cubic yards (cy).  But since then, clients have guided us toward a market made up of smaller-scale sites which are not adequately serviced by the traditional large scale ex situ thermal desorption technologies. To address this need, TerraTherm invented the smaller, more nimble and mobile version of IPTD®, called the Heated-Box, or HB1100. The HB1100 allows for on-site treatment, a more sustainable and economic option for smaller volumes of contaminated material.


HB1100 Diagram

HB1100 Diagram

The HB1100’s sweet spot, in terms of soil volumes, is between 2,000 – 12,000 cy. If a site requires more than 12,000 cy, we can still offer pricing and approaches, but in this case, more traditional ex situ thermal desorption or IPTD®  approaches would likely be more cost-effective.

Benefits of on-site treatment

Off-site disposal or treatment can be seen as an unsustainable and potentially hazardous practice. Taking the entire Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of remedial approaches into consideration, treating on-site almost always trumps off-site treatment, and it’s not difficult to see why: By treating on-site, you eliminate the transportation of contaminated soils and sediments that would otherwise need to enter public transportation by either trucking or rail systems. Additionally, since there are so few facilities throughout the nation that are capable of handling hazardous wastes, these trucks or rail cars would not only need to be mobilized, but they would often need to travel long distances across the country.

HB1100 vs Traditional On-site Thermal Technologies

On-site thermal technologies, such as rotary kiln desorption units, have existed since the 1980s, but they are often costly to set up, dusty, noisy, take up a large footprint, require significant material sorting/handling and are limited by contaminant and soil/sediment types. In order for traditional on-site thermal technologies to be cost-effective, large volumes of material are usually required to justify the expenses of mobilizing such large systems.

Alternatively, the HB1100 has a completely modular design and is the same size as standard CONEX boxes, which allows it to be easily transported. The HB1100 also features plug-and-play equipment so it can be deployed to a site rapidly, and set up in less than a week. It is often paired with our Tier-One treatment system. Tier-One is a pre-engineered system featuring internal process equipment that reduces noise and simplifies the engineering process. In addition, because the HB1100 uses the heating principal of TCH, it is not limited to certain soil/sediment types. It can easily handle and treat materials such as concrete, rubble with rebar, and other non-combustible construction materials. Heaters embedded in the insulated floor and walls of the metal boxes prevent contact with hazardous chemicals, easing the loading and emptying processes.

Tier-One Treatment System, often paired with the Heated-Box treatment approach

Tier-One Treatment System, often paired with the Heated-Box treatment approach

Each HB1100 unit has a capacity to treat 100 cubic yards (cy) of soil within a period of 14-30 days (depending on contaminant type, moisture and contaminant concentrations).  For larger volumes, or expedited treatment schedules, multiple HB1100 units are operated in a staggered fashion, using a centralized treatment system to maximize available resources.

Learn more about the HB1100

TerraTherm completed two full-scale HB1100 demonstrations in New York during 2015 and 2016. Case studies are available for these pilot tests.

Additionally, in June of 2016, we hosted an educational webinar introducing the HB1100.

If you have a site for which you may be considering dig and haul, contact TerraTherm for a Heated-Box assessment first to see if you could benefit from on-site treatment.

Contact me Nate Bierschenk at nbierschenk@terratherm.com if you’d like to discuss one of your sites, or if you have any questions about the technology.

About Nate Bierschenk

Nate Bierschenk began working at TerraTherm, Inc. in 2012 as a Marketing Assistant. Since then, Nate has grown into a more technical role and is currently Technical Sales Specialist servicing the Southeast. In addition, Nate is the service line sales lead for TerraTherm's new on-site thermal offering, the Heated-Box or HB1100 approach.
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