United States
Environmental Protection
Research and Development
                                                Risk Reduction
                                                Engineering Laboratory
                                                Cincinnati, OH 45268
                                                EPA/600/S2-91/031  Oct. 1991
EPA       Project Summary

               Waste  Minimization  Opportunity
               Assessment: Optical  Fabrication
               Laboratory,  Fitzsimmons Army
               Medical Center,  Denver,
              Marvin Drabkin and Edwin Rissmann
                The Waste Reduction Evaluations at
              Federal Sites (WREAFS) Program con-
              sists of a series of demonstration and
              evaluation projects for waste reduction*
              conducted cooperatively by the U.S.
              Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
              and various parts of the Department of
              Defense,  Department of Energy, and
              other Federal agencies. The  WREAFS
              program focuses on waste minimization
              research  opportunities  and technical
              assessments at Federal sites. The ob-
              jectives of the WREAFS Program include
              (1) conducting waste minImization work-
              shops, (2) performing waste minimiza-
              tion opportunity assessments, (3) dem-
              onstrating waste minimization tech-
              niques or technologies at Federal facili-
              ties, and (4) enhancing waste minimiza-
              tion benefits within the Federal commu-
               One of the sites chosen for perfor-
              mance of a waste minimization opportu-
              nity assessment  (WMOA) under the
             WREAFS Program is the Fitzsimmons
             Army Medical Center Optical  Fabrica-
             tion Laboratory (FAMC/OFL) in Denver,
             Colorado. Glass lens fabrication opera-
             tions at the OFL generate three RCRA
             hazardous wastes (waste lead-bearing
             lens blocking alloy (RCRA D008), alka-
             line washwater from ground and pol-
             ished lens cleaning and deblocking op-
             erations (D002), and spent Stoddard sol-
             *The terms "reduction" and "minimization" are used
             interchangeably in this EPA Project Summary.
                                vent from the tool cleaning operations
                                (D001)) and one nonhazardous waste
                                (ground glass fines from lens grinding
                                and polishing operations). The waste
                                lead-bearing blocking alloy particulates
                                are reclaimed and recycled atthe OFL (to
                                the  extent possible);  the alkaline
                                washwater is discharged to the waste-
                                water treatment plant and ultimately used
                                on the FAMC grounds for irrigation; and
                                spent Stoddard solvent is recycled off site
                                through a Safety-Kleen, Inc., operation.
                                The nonhazardous ground glass fines
                                are collected from the present onsite
                                grinding coolant filtration operations and
                                disposed of at a local sanitary landfill.
                                 The present WMOA at  the OFL was
                                concerned with two of these RCRA haz-
                                ardous wastes, first, the residual lead-
                                bearing glass lens blocking alloy and the
                                alkaline washwaterfromlensdeblocking/
                                cleaning operations, second, and the
                                nonhazardous ground glass from lens
                                grinding operations. A waste minimiza-
                                tion option was developed for  each of
                                these wastes,  as summarized below.
                                (1) Filtration of the alkaline washwater
                                  from glass lens deblocking/wash-
                                  ing operations to recover  and re-
                                  cycle residual lead-bearing block-
                                  ing alloy particulates  contained in
                                  this washwater. Potentially, as much
                                  as 500 Ib/yr of lead-bearing alloy is
                               (2) Substitution of lead-free glass lens
                                  blocking alloy for the  lead-bearing
                                  material presently in use.
                               (3) Offsite recycling of the nonhazardous
                                  fine glass  particulate waste gener-
                                                         Printed on Recycled Paper

    ated in the lens grinding operation
    and currently disposed of in a sani-
    tary landfill.
   This Project Summary was developed
by EPA's  Risk Reduction Engineering
Research Laboratory, Cincinnati, Ohio,
to announce key findings of the waste
reduction assessment that is fully docu-
mented in a separate report of the same
title (see Project Report ordering infor-
mation at back).

  To promote waste minimization activities
in accordance with the national policy ob-
jectives established under the 1984  Haz-
ardous and Solid Waste Amendments to
the Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act of 1976 (RCRA), the Risk Reduction
Engineering Laboratory (RREL) of the
USEPA Office of Research and Develop-
ment is supporting the WREAFS Program,
which consists of a series of demonstration
and evaluation projects for waste reduction
conducted cooperatively by EPA and vari-
ous parts of the Department of Defense,
Department of Energy, and other Federal
agencies. The WREAFS Program  focuses
on waste minimization research opportuni-
ties and technical assessments at Federal
sites. The  present project  focused on a
waste minimization opportunity assessment
                   (WMOA) conducted at the Frtzsimmons
                   Army Medical Center (FAMC) Optical Fab-
                   rication Laboratory (OFL) in Denver, Colo-
                     Results of the WMOA conducted at the
                   OFL  identified  three waste minimization
                   opportunities involving  materials in use at
                   the OFL. These options  are summarized

                   Waste Minimization

                   Waste Alkaline Washwater
                     Alkaline washwater from the glass lens
                   cleaning/deblocking operation is currently
                   discharged from the OFL after passing
                   through a trap to collect large particulates of
                   the lead-bearing lens blocking alloy. This
                   wastewater is discharged periodically from
                   the glass lens washing machines at the rate
                   of approximately 200 gal/mo, at a pH of
                   about 13 to 14, and is drained to the FAMC
                   onsite central water treatment facility. Al-
                   though this waste is not discharged offsite,
                   it is ultimately used as part of the FAMC
                   grounds irrigation  water  at the  site and
                   could be ultimately discharging lead (both
                   as dissolved lead and submicron particu-
                   lates) to the groundwater under the site. It is
                   proposed that this possibility be avoided in
                   one of two ways:
                                               (1) Use of a source reduction technique—
                                                  the substitution of a non-lead-bearing
                                                  blocking alloy.
                                               (2) Use of a recycling technique—introduc-
                                                  ing a cartridge filter in the line leaving the
                                                  trap from the lens washing/deblocking
                                                  operation in order to catch the submi-
                                                  cron-size alloy particulates. This tech-
                                                  nique could recover up to 500 Ib/yr of
                                                  particulate material that would ultimately
                                                  be recycled to the lens blocking opera-

                                               Glass Fines from the Glass
                                               Lens Grinding Operation
                                                 The OFL presently generates about 37.5
                                               ton/yr of a mixture of waste glass fines and
                                               water from the lens grinding operation. This
                                               material is not a hazardous waste under the
                                               RCRA definition. The OFL currently sends
                                               this waste to a local landfill, thereby incur-
                                               ring both  the transportation and landfilling
                                               costs. These fines, when dry, could gener-
                                               ate  particulate  emissions, thus  creating
                                               possible inhalation problems, during trans-
                                               portation  rf they are transported in uncov-
                                               ered or improperly covered containers or at
                                               a landfill if they are improperly covered or
                                               managed. A potential use for this material is
                                               as feedstock in g lass or ceramic tile produc-
                                               tion by a local facility. It is assumed that this
                                               facility would use the  OFL waste material,
Table 1.  Summary of FAMC/OFL Waste Minimization Assessment Results

                                                        Raw material costs
Stream under
Nonhazardous Waste

Glass fines from glass
lens rough grinding
Hazardous Waste

Mkaline washwater
from deblocking
and cleaning of glass
lenses, containing
small amounts of EP
toxic metals, e.g.,
lead, as both particu-
lates and dissolved
consumed or
300 Ib/day
(37.5 tons/yr)
200 gal/mo
D002 corrosive
and D008 lead
                  Not applicable
Alloy: $2.34Ab
(or $1,150/yr based
on metal loss if attri-
butable to alkaline
solution disposal).
There are also costs
of under $5,000/yr
for the alkaline clean-
ing solution.
                       disposal costs
                                                                                                   Options considered
                       Estimated at $50/
                       ton at a local
                       municipal landfill
                                                                               Negligible since this
                                                                               waste stream is
                                                                               treated at the
                                                                               FAMC onsite bio-
                                                                               logical wastewater
                                                                               treatment plant.
                                                                               The stream con-
                                                                               stitutes less than
                                                                               0.1% of the flow
                                                                               to the wastewater
                                                                               treatment plant.
Proposed Recycle Option

Send fines to local glass
or ceramic tile production
plant for use as a feed-
stock in glass or ceramic
tile fabrication.

Proposed WM Option

1. Alloy substitutions
to eliminate use of lead
and cadmium (source

2. Installation of a filter in
wastewater pipe from
washing unit to reclaim
additional alloy particu-
lates (recycle/reuse).

    Table2. Summary of Factors Determining Technical Feasibility of Three WMOptions Studied During the OFL Waste Minimization Study

                                                                                  Factors determining technical feasibility
number     Waste and source
              Glass particles from
              lens grinding
              Cleaning and
              deblocking washwater
              from glass lens

              Cleaning and deblock-
              ing washwater from
              glass lens production
                                   Sending waste to a glass or
                                   ceramic tile manufacturer
                                   for use as feedstock
                                   Substitution of a lead- and
                                   cadmium-free alloy for the
                                   alloy presently used for

                                   Installation of a filter in
                                   the alkaline wastewer
                                                                     Glass composition and compatibility of that composition with
                                                                     types of glass produced at a facility interested in accepting the

                                                                     Availability within a radius of 50 miles if a facility is interested in
                                                                     accepting the materials. Greater distances would increase
                                                                     transportation costs, thereby eliminating the economic benefit of
                                                                     this option.

                                                                     No technical factors are involved. The substitute alloy is known
                                                                     by facility personnel to be a technically viable alternative.  How-
                                                                     ever, its higher cost may not be justified unless considered on
                                                                     environmental grounds.

                                                                     Particle size and concentration of fine alloy liquid droplets or
                                                                     particulates currently escaping in the discharged wastewater.

                                                                     Choice of alkali-resistant filtration equipment.
   Tables.  Summary of Cost Analysis Data for Three WM Options Resulting from the OFL Waste Minimization Study
Material of
in this study
Glass particulates
from lens grinding
1. Sending to glass
manufacturers for
use as feedstock
Capital investment
Net operating
cost savings
(dependent on local
transportation cost)
Payback period
Cleaning and            2. Alloy substitution           None
deblocking washwater
from glass lens

                       3. Installation of         Less than $500'
                         filter in wastewater
                                                                      None. Will increase
                                                                      operating cost by
                                                                      about $33,000/yr

                                                                                            1.5yr minimum
 and, consequently, the land disposal cost
 could be eliminated.

 Results of the Waste
 Minimization Assessment
   The results of the WMOA are summa-
 rized in Tables 1  through 3.

 Conclusions and
  Of the three waste-related opportunities
developed at the OFL by the WMOA, two
represent  waste reduction  for RCRA haz-
ardous wastes, while the remaining option
represents an opportunity to reduce or elimi-
                                         nate  nonhazardous  waste. A  review of
                                         Table 3 shows that none of these options
                                         represent substantial capital outlays or ap-
                                         preciable operating cost  savings. In  fact,
                                         one waste minimization option—substitut-
                                         ing a  nonhazardous lens blocking alloy for
                                         the present hazardous material—represents
                                         a substantial operating cost increase. The
                                         only positive value of the option is the poten-
                                         tial elimination of an environmental pollu-
                                         tion problem if it can be shown at FAMC that
                                         a source of lead  pollution in groundwater
                                         needs to be eliminated. The potential  lead
                                         pollution problem  also points out the need
                                         for R & D efforts to develop a lead-free  lens
                                         blocking alloy.
                                                                                         The full report was submitted in fulfillment
                                                                                      of Contract No. 68-C8-0061, Work Assign-
                                                                                      ment 2-24, by Versar, Inc., under the spon-
                                                                                      sorship of the U.S. Environmental Protec-
                                                                                      tion Agency.
                                                                          •ffV.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1991 - 548-028/40082

 Marvin Drabkin and Edwin Rissmann are with Versar, Inc., Springfield, VA 22151.
 Kenneth R. Stone  is the EPA Project Officer (see below).
 The complete report, entitled "Waste Minimization Opportunity Assessment: Optical
   Fabrication Laboratory, Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, Denver, Colorado,"
   (Order No. PB91- 216 515/AS; Cost: $35.00,  subject to change) will be available
   only from:
         National Technical Information Service
         5285 Port Royal Road
         Springfield, VA 22161
         Telephone: 703-487-4650
 The EPA Project Officer can be contacted at:
         Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory
         U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
         Cincinnati, OH 45268
 United States
 Environmental Protection
Center for Environmental
Research Information
Cincinnati, OH 45268
   PERMIT No. G-35
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300