The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced February 19, 2013 that it has formed a $36.8-million contract with TerraTherm Inc. to carry out thermal remediation of dioxin at Vietnam’s Danang Airport.
About 75 million litres of the dangerous carcinogen was spread over 2 million hectares during the war, but the cleanup will focus on a heavily-contaminated area of 19 hectares near a military base in Da Nang. The spot was one of a dozen areas used by the U.S. military to make and mix the dangerous chemical, which has been linked to birth defects.
Agent Orange was used in concentrations 20 to 55 times that of normal agricultural use.
USAID selected TerraTherm’s In-Pile Thermal Desorption® (IPTD®) technology for treatment of approximately 73,000 cubic meters (95,000 cubic yards) of soil and sediment at Danang Airport. The IPTD® approach incorporates placing contaminated soil and sediment within an above-ground, covered and fully insulated treatment pile structure, and then heating each batch of soil over several months to destroy the dioxin. Once implemented, the technology can safely and effectively treat the soil to the required Vietnamese cleanup levels, as has been demonstrated at similarly-sized projects in the United States. TerraTherm is working with Krüger/VWS-VN to implement the project.
The remediation could take as long as four years.
TerraTherm Inc. is a worldwide leader in the development and implementation of in situ and on-site thermal remediation of toxic contaminants. They design, build and operate projects from concept to closure, using Thermal Conduction Heating (TCH), Steam Enhanced Extraction (SEE), Resistance Heating, and combinations of the above. With offices in Massachusetts and California, and sublicensees such as Krüger A/S (eight European countries) and SheGoTec (Japan), they offer services worldwide. For more information, visit www.terratherm.com.
Some 50 years ago, U.S. planes sprayed 75 million litres of Agent Orange in Vietnam. [Photo: FFRD.org]