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SYNTHETICA DETOXIFIER OFFERS CLEAN SOLUTION TO HOSPITALS' BIOMEDICAL WASTE PROBLEMS

 Joint Project Between Georgia Power Company, ERPI,
 Liberty Memorial Hospital, and Synthetica Technologies
 Could Be Synthetica's First U.S. Non-Research Installation
 RICHMOND, Calif., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- If approved by the Hospital Authority of Liberty County, Ga., Liberty Memorial Hospital could be the first non-research installation in the United States of the Synthetica Detoxifier -- a steam reformation process that cost- effectively vaporizes medical waste using electricity and reforms the vapors into carbon dioxide and water vapor without combustion, air, or water pollution.
 The joint project will involve Synthetica Technologies Inc. of Richmond, makers of the Synthetica Detoxifier, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) of Palo Alto, Calif., the Georgia Power Co., and Liberty Memorial Hospital, Synthetica President Ross Sheldon has announced.
 Thomas B. Landers of the Georgia Power Co. will address the Hospital Authority of Liberty County on Thursday, Oct. 14, to explain the benefits of the system and why the hospital board should approve the project. The board will then vote on the installation.
 Georgia Power became aware of the Synthetica process through its membership in EPRI, a non-profit, research and development consortium that seeks to discover, develop, and further advances in science and technology that benefit member electric utilities, their customers, and society.
 EPRI selected Synthetica because its detoxifier is "very effective in terms of destroying toxic waste," EPRI Project Manager Myron Jones said. The system's versatility played a key role in EPRI's decision to co-fund Synthetica's demonstrations. "Synthetica's system works on a variety of infectious wastes -- toxic solids, liquids, or gases. It also has the ability to reactivate carbon, which will be very valuable in the areas of water treatment and waste-water treatment," Jones continued.
 While Jones acknowledged there are competing processes to Synthetica's, he knows of no other system that utilizes steam reforming. "Synthetica has the capacity to treat a wider range of waste than other available technologies. It also reduces the volume of waste substantially. The system could readily benefit the medical waste management field, where infectious waste disposal costs are very high," he added.
 Dr. Carolyn Hill, chief executive officer of Liberty Memorial Hospital, began looking at installing the Synthetica Detoxifier after Georgia Power performed an energy audit of the hospital eight months ago, Landers said. "We looked at cost-saving measures, one of which was medical waste. We then examined different processes and, based on those on-site equipment evaluations, selected Synthetica. Of all the systems we evaluated, Synthetica's is the most environmentally friendly, efficient, and cost-effective," Landers said.
 Currently, biohazardous medical waste at Liberty Memorial Hospital is incinerated on-site. The process is not only costly, but many states are closing down incinerators due to concerns about their effect on the environment. The Synthetica Steam Detoxifier offers a revolutionary, environmentally sound, and economically viable solution to the problem.
 In August, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) gave Synthetica and Liberty Memorial Hospital the go-ahead to install and operate the Synthetica technology. The EPD reported that it "does approve of this alternate method of treating biomedical waste with the exception of radioactive waste."
 TEXT OF SPEECH BY THOMAS B. LANDERS, GEORGIA POWER CO.,
 TO HOSPITAL AUTHORITY OF LIBERTY COUNTY, GA, OCT.14
 Due to the proactive stance on medical waste by Liberty Memorial Hospital, the aggressive pursuit of solutions by Georgia Power Co. and EPRI, and the technical creativity of Synthetica Technologies, THIS WILL BE THE FIRST NON RESEARCH INSTALLATION OF THE EMERGING TECHNOLOGY, STEAM REFORMATION, IN THE UNITED STATES. Synthetica's Steam Detoxifier is A TOTAL ELECTRIC, COST EFFECTIVE PROCESS THAT CONVERTS MEDICAL WASTE INTO CARBON DIOXIDE AND WATER VAPOR WITHOUT COMBUSTION, AIR POLLUTION, OR WATER POLLUTION. IN ADDITION TO NON-POLLUTING, THE PROCESS WILL INCREASE THE LIFE OF LANDFILLS.
 Nationally the medical industry is facing a growing problem in how to treat and dispose of medical waste while ensuring the environment, population, and employees are protected. Although the definition of medical waste differs between agency and state, the UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ESTIMATES THAT APPROXIMATELY 30 PERCENT OF THE MEDICAL WASTE GENERATED ANNUALLY IS INFECTIOUS WASTE. OF THIS INFECTIOUS WASTE APPROXIMATELY 77 PERCENT IS GENERATED BY HOSPITALS WHICH ARE ONLY TWO PERCENT OF THE WASTE GENERATORS. OTHER SOURCES OF WASTE INCLUDE BLOOD BANKS, CLINICS, FUNERAL HOMES, LABORATORIES, NURSING HOMES, MEDICAL RESEARCH FACILITIES, VETERINARY OFFICES, DENTIST OFFICES, AND PHYSICIAN OFFICES. THE TOTAL VOLUME OF INFECTIOUS WASTE GENERATED ANNUALLY IN THE UNITED STATES IS ESTIMATED AT APPROXIMATELY 466,000 TONS.
 This waste can be treated either on the hospital premise or off premise using a variety of equipment or techniques. These techniques may be grouped into three general categories: thermal, chemical, and irradiation. Historically most facilities have used either incineration or autoclaving for the treatment of their infectious waste. New air regulations and public opposition have caused facilities to increasingly consider alternate treatment options.
 Incineration is not desired at Liberty Memorial Hospital due to:
 On site:
 -- Current incinerator is 30 years old and renders recognizable residue;
 -- Variety of waste stream make-up;
 -- New incinerator is costly and requires a larger area;
 -- Liability from employee exposure;
 -- Products of incomplete combustion (PIC) possible containing hazardous material;
 -- Particulate or fly ash emissions;
 -- Hydrocarbon combustion produces NOx air emissions;
 -- Reduction of PICs & NOx requires air pollution control systems;
 -- Combustion of plastics, batteries, and diagnostic tools containing mercury produce HCI, dioxins, furans, and mercury;
 -- Reduction of HCI, dioxins, furans, and mercury will require expensive quench reactors or wet scrubbers.
 Off site:
 -- Liability in transportation of waste;
 -- Cost escalation;
 -- Cradle to grave issues.
 (Show slide of air emissions and sample of incinerator residue.)
 OF THE ALTERNATE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES, THE ONE THAT LIBERTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL HAS SELECTED AS MOST EFFECTIVELY MEETING THEIR NEEDS IS A STEAM REFORMING PROCESS BY SYNTHETICA TECHNOLOGIES INC.
 The Synthetica Steam Detoxifier is a closed loop system using superheated steam and a high-temperature steam reforming reactor to convert the waste into non-toxic vapors and a dry, solid residue. (Show schematic slide of Synthetica detoxifier.) During the process the waste is first rendered unrecognizable using a shredder; then the shredded waste is steam reformed into vapors while being transported by a heated screw evaporator. The screw unit deposits the solid residue into a container for transport to a landfill, and the vapors are transformed into carbon dioxide and water vapor. Prior to venting the carbon dioxide and water vapor, any trace halogen, organics, or metals are removed by filters. Using electricity and operating at atmospheric pressure, temperatures in the various chambers of the process vary from 350 to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit without the use of a fuel flame. By electrically heating the converter and eliminating fuel combustion, the Detoxifier eliminates products of incomplete combustion (PICs), fly ash, dioxin, furans, and NOx emissions. Additionally, the absence of fuel and oxygen reduces the explosive potential of volatile chemical mixtures. Water pollution is eliminated since drains do not exist in the Detoxifier due to the fact that all the water introduced is fully consumed. The process can treat all medical waste; however, radioactive waste must be treated in a separate unit designated for that purpose only. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, approved the placement of the treated residue, except radioactive waste residue, in a landfill. Approval requires documentation verifying weight and volume of throughput, processing temperatures, processing times, and maintenance.
 The steam reformation process is environmentally desirable since it is:
 -- Cost effective;
 -- Eliminates toxic air emissions;
 -- Extends the life of landfills through a 50 percent reduction in waste volume;
 -- Reduces disposal cost through 70 percent reduction in waste weight;
 -- Renders unrecognizable, dry, solid residue;
 -- Decreased liability due to limited employee exposure and elimination of cradle to grave issues;
 -- Requires only water and electricity;
 -- Predictable future costs eliminates dependence on off-site disposers;
 -- Safe, simple operations via automatic touch control panel;
 -- Compact design.
 How will this technology impact Liberty Memorial Hospital's operations?
 -- Identify sources of internal waste stream;
 -- Identify weight and volume of waste;
 -- Waste treatment is non-revenue producing;
 -- Collection of sorted waste;
 -- Personnel training.
 Why is Liberty Memorial Hospital interested in this technology?
 -- Unacceptability of current process;
 -- Effect positive, progressive change;
 -- Promote environmental safety and controls;
 -- Control costs;
 -- Control liability;
 -- Control of destiny;
 -- Leadership in Georgia;
 -- Assist in development of universal medical waste definition;
 -- Assist in identifying ways to reduce the waste stream;
 -- Positive impact on political and regulatory process.
 -0- 10/14/93
 /CONTACT: Jan Lindstrom of The Lee Solters Company, 213-651-9300/
 (EPRI)


CO: Synthetica Technologies; Electric Power Research Institute;
 Georgia Power Co.; Liberty Memorial Hospital ST: Georgia, California IN: HEA ENV SU:


NY-LS -- LA012 -- 2152 10/14/93 11:03 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 14, 1993
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