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Excavation & Incineration

Excavation & incineration is a successfully used method for cleaning up toxic waste. This method involves digging up and removing the poisoned soil from the aquifer, and then burning it at high temperatures so that only non-toxic materials are released into the air. The toxic materials burn in the incinerator while the soil remains behind. The clean soil can be placed back into the ground. This method has been used in Gresham before on Burnside Rd where a former gas station had leaking gas tanks. The ground beneath the station was dug up and burned, removing the poisonous gasoline. The clean soil was placed back into the ground, and a coffee shop now occupies the site.

Cost: About $14 million/ which is about $240 extra on each years' tax bill over a period of 10 years.


1. This method ensures that most or all of the pollutants are removed from the ground.

2. Any water that flows through this ground in the future will be cleaner.

3. If the polluted area is small and not too deep, then the area can be cleaned up in a short time.



1. Buildings, streets, lakes, etc. may have to be dug up and destroyed in order to find the pollution.

2. Because of the digging and need for large equipment, there will be a lot of noise & dust in the neighborhood. Some of the dust could contain toxic chemicals.

3. Accidents may happen to workers (cave ins may occur).

4. Some toxic ashes may remain after the burning. These must be transported to a safe storage site. Stored wastes may leak over time if not properly cared for.

5. Potential air pollution from the incineration process.

6. Possibility of toxic materials leaking from the incinerator, or during transport to the incinerator.

7. Building a large incinerator, or buying a small portable incinerator is a big up front cost. However, once you have it, other toxic materials can be burned. Other cities may pay your town to use your incineration facilities!


Incineration as a cleanup tool at a Washington State superfund site (favorable review)

Incineration links

Flowers for a tainted town: All else is ashes

The nerve gas next door

Army wavers on burning chemical weapons

Umatilla's chemical incinerator scrutinized

Uncertainty precedes Umatilla incinerator

Glitches slow incinerator safety plan

Study says nerve gas danger underestimated

Incineration of nerve gas challenged

Umatilla Chemical Depot emergency plan shows flaws

Chemical depot faces cuts

Plant proposes to incineratre tires in gorge area


[GHS Biology Pollution Cleanup Options Menu]

Paul Slichter