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Key Facts on Environmental Remediation of Dioxin Contamination at Danang Airport

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  • The project will remediate an estimated 73,000 cubic meters of contaminated soils and sediments at the Danang Airport to below Government of Vietnam cleanup standards.
  • The pile of soil and sediment will be 70 meters wide and approximately 100 meters long (based on actual volume). Including top and bottom insulation, the pile will stand about eight meters tall. The soil and sediment will be heated to 335 degrees C with 1,254 heating wells.
  • The Vietnamese and U.S. governments have been collaborating on Agent Orange/dioxin issues since 2000. The Prime Minister's Office designated the Ministry of National Defense to be the Government of Vietnam project implementation partner on the Environmental Remediation at Danang Airport project. 
  • The project is estimated to be completed in 2016.
  • After carefully assessing all remediation alternatives, including a passive landfill, and bioremediation, the U.S. and Vietnamese governments identified the use of In-Pile Thermal Desorption (IPTD, or thermal remediation) as the most effective and proven technology for Danang Airport.
  • Collectively, USAID's contractors for the Danang project have successfully applied innovative technology solutions, including thermal remediation, on hundreds of projects involving construction management, environmental remediation, oversight of multiple parties, and site-wide health and safety.

How thermal remediation works:

  • Contaminated soils and sediments are excavated and safely hauled to a temporary containment structure that is built at the airport.
  • Once placed in the containment structure, the contaminated soil and sediment will be treated using the thermal remediation technology. Thermal desorption involves heating the soils and sediments to a high temperature where the dioxins are destroyed. The dioxin breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, and chloride.
  • Treated soils and sediments will be removed from the containment structure and will be safe for industrial and commercial use according to the dioxin standards applied by the Vietnamese government, as well as U.S. Government dioxin standards for cleanup sites in the United States.

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Last updated: October 21, 2014

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