Subject: Thymerasol Filtering
From: "Timothy S O'Neill" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 09:38:31 -0500 (EST)
My name is Tim O'Neill and I am a graduate assistant at the Industrial Assessment Center at Iowa State University. We are currently in the process of performing an audit an animal vaccine company in our region and we have come up against a problem which involves the disposal of a hazardous chemical.
Here is a description of the problem:
Currently the vaccine company has a policy to buy back any vaccine which goes past the expiration date while in the possession of a customer. This vaccine, upon being received back at the facility, must be disposed of.
A large portion of these vaccines contain a chemical called "Thymerasol," a mercury based preservative, as an ingredient. Because of this mercury content, the returned material must be disposed of as hazardous waste.
The current method of disposal consists of throwing the individual vials of vaccine, container and all, into 55-gallon drums which are in turn taken off-site by a haz. waste disposal firm (this waste stream totalled 9,600 gallons in 1996, at a cost of $600/55-gallon drum).
We were wondering if there exists any type of a filtering system (activated carbon, ion exchange, etc.) which would be able to handle this type of application. Another alternative which may exist would be to somehow separate and recover the mercury itself. For example, is there some way to cause the mercury to separate and percipitate out of the solution?
Also, would someone be willing to give me a rough estimate on what such a system--if it exists--would cost?
I thank everyone in advance for your help. If you need any more information, feel free to email or call me here at the office (515.294.0079).
Industrial Assessment Center