While the benefits of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology have changed the game for the utility and pipeline construction industries, the large volumes of fluid waste generated by HDD borings pose significant costs and environmental risk. Contractors and owners often choose to solidify drilling mud on site with superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) because of financial and time savings as well as SAPs’ ease of use and environmental benefits.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, infection control within the healthcare environment is more important than ever before. Management of potentially infectious waste needs to be strictly followed in order to keep our healthcare workers, material handlers, truck drivers and others safe from potentially virulent material. Taking full precautions and maintaining compliance with existing regulations support employees’ health and safety, which in turn benefits hospitals and other service companies that depend on said employees.
Before starting a discussion on how Zappa Stewart solidifiers allow compliance, let’s first understand the regulations with which a product/business must comply.
Sludge, a viscous mixture of liquid and solid components, is generated by essentially all industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities. When sludge must be periodically removed in order for plant maintenance crews to conduct repairs on process equipment and concrete holding basins, superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) are the safest, fastest, and most efficient choice to convert wet sludge to dry stackable solids.
The new coronavirus epidemic, COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan China, causing severe respiratory illness, has brought a heightened level of both awareness and panic to the general public regarding the spread of viruses and infections in general. This only adds to the pressure hospitals and other healthcare centers have been under to reduce Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs), which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), affect roughly 1 in every 31 hospital patients across the United States.
Have you ever wondered how those thin pads under your ribeye steak absorb and hold so much liquid? Yet a similar size paper towel can only absorb a fraction of the same volume and releases the liquid when any pressure is applied.
Liquid waste streams such as wastewater treatment sludge (biosolids), coal combustion residuals (coal ash slurries), horizontal direction drilling (HDD) mud, and dredged sediments are challenging to manage for many reasons. Regulatory restrictions on liquid waste disposal require free liquids to be absorbed, or solidified, prior to acceptance at landfill facilities. The absorbent material that is selected can impact the landfill’s leachate management costs, the landfill’s longevity, and the water quality in groundwater and surface water in the vicinity of the landfill. Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs), one of the EPA’s few accepted absorbent materials, help landfills minimize leachate management costs, mitigate environmental risks from leachate leaks, and maximize landfill life.
Zappa-Stewart supplies large volumes of sodium polyacrylate superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) to many industrial and consumer sectors. Hot/cold packs, the gel-filled packaging that accompanies perishable online grocery deliveries, is one specific SAP application that is experiencing explosive growth in demand. With the increased demand for SAPs in the hot/cold pack market, we have also received an increasing volume of questions from customers and end users about ways that SAPs can be repurposed, rather than simply tossed in the garbage. It’s a great question and fortunately for millions of consumers across the globe, we have some answers.
Are superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) biodegradable? Will SAPs release liquids in a landfill? These questions are asked by many professionals in the environmental waste management industry when considering SAPs for a project. SAPs are used globally to solidify liquid waste streams safely and efficiently prior to final disposal or reuse. However as with any waste treatment reagent, it is important for environmental practitioners to understand how SAPs behave once they are disposed in a landfill or left on-site as a component of fill material.
Which Are Better?
The decision to introduce waste solidification is a great step forward in the fight to control and mitigate the risk for hospital-acquired infection. However, once the decision to solidify fluid wastes is made, the next concern is which packaging format to introduce self-dissolving packs or bottles.
The rapid increase in horizontal directional drilling (HDD) activities throughout North America has resulted in a higher demand for vacuum truck services to manage liquid waste streams. And while drilling contractors and pipeline maintenance crews often rely on the convenience and efficiency of hiring a vacuum truck to get liquid waste out of their way, the next step in the process, liquid waste solidification, is often not as efficient or cost effective as it could be. Low-end commodity absorbents, like those that are widely used in the waste treatment industry, present several challenges to environmental contractors. Fortunately, superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) offer a safe, efficient, and cost-effective solution to liquid waste solidification.