No. 51: EM Technology to Manage the Waste Materials Brought by the Northeast Japan Earthquake

 Calling them “debris” may be more appropriate, but the ordinary debris brought by the Earthquake was not much in quantity and can easily be used to fill the caved-in land and as foundation to build roads. However, the problem is the waste materials brought by the Earthquake.

 A large amount of plastic, chemical materials, asbestos, and putrefying organic matters constitute the waste materials brought by the Earthquake. When such waste materials are burned, a large amount of dioxin and other harmful chemicals are generated and remain in the ashes.

 High-temperature incinerator or high-pressure-temperature incinerator is required to prevent dioxin generation. But the number of such incinerators is limited. Furthermore, the useful life of such facilities is limited depending on the volume of waste burned and the number of years in use, and the use of the ashes need to be decided systematically depending on the degree of contamination.

 The problem of dioxin is very similar to that of radiation contamination. Simply stated, dioxin is as harmful as radioactive substances. The problem of dioxin released to environment has not yet been controlled.

 In addition to the problems mentioned above, the waste materials brought by the Earthquake are radioactively contaminated. That is why the municipalities are slow to deal with them. Tokyo has many landfill sites in non-populated area, but most municipalities do not. Therefore, dumping them in the landfill sites is out of the question for many municipalities.

- Measures to Control Natural Combustion, Foul Odor, Asbestos, and Radiation Contamination ?

 The waste materials brought by the Earthquake, when left untreated, will cause natural combustion and generate foul odor and methane gas because a large amount of reduced substances such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia are generated in the process of putrefaction and bring about alkali condition.

 When EM is sprayed to such environment, organic acids of EM neutralize alkali condition of the waste and eliminate foul odor. Ordinary vinegar and wood vinegar can achieve the similar results. However, if the reduced substances exceed the available neutralization capacity of vinegar, repeated application is needed.

 When EM is applied, however, neutralization takes place in the first stage, and the effects of phototrophic bacteria take place in the second stage. As I mentioned previously in my articles, phototrophic bacteria cut hydrogen off methane, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia to use as energy source. At the same time, phototrophic bacteria in cooperation with east and lactic acid bacteria synthesize alcohol, amino-acids, and protein molecules from the substances that generate foul odor.

 When EM is sprayed, foul odor is suppressed immediately and will not come back because of the acidity of EM (pH is below 3.5) and the function of phototrophic bacteria that work in cooperation with east and lactic acid bacteria. That is why the natural combustion of the waste can be prevented.

 The waste materials contain a large amount of asbestos from many old buildings. When asbestos gets dried, it crumbles into fine dust and is carried by wind and spread widely to cause health damage. As I mentioned in my message No.42 on how to manage

 The Fukushima nuclear power plant has been emitting radioactive substances which are spread all over the world. Since March, cecium-137 has been accumulated in rice stalks, pasture, and over the waste materials brought by the Earthquake at the higher than expected level.

 The radiation contamination has become a real bottleneck in managing the waste materials. As I mentioned in my previous messages, all is manageable if EM is sprayed to the degree that foul odor is eliminated or that the level of radiation contamination becomes “not-detected”.

- EM Technology to Control Dioxin Contamination ?

 EM has other functions not widely known yet. Controlling radiation contamination is one of them, and another is that the complete combustion takes places at lower temperature. When plastics, paper, and organic garbage that contain saline are incinerated in the temperature over 800 celcius, they burn completely, and emission of harmful gas such as dioxin is suppressed. When EM is applied, the complete combustion can take place below 500 celcius.

 When the temperature is raised over 800 celcius, the brick walls of ordinary incinerator deteriorate faster, and the useful life of the ordinary incinerator is greatly shortened. For that reason, special incinerators are required at higher cost, and the incinerators currently in use are all special. Also it is legally forbidden to burn garbage in the open air. All garbage, by law, must be burned in the government designated incinerators.

 The difficulty in managing the waste materials brought by the Earthquake comes from the regulation that the waste materials must be burned; i.e., in the incinerators that are limited in number and located far from the disaster area. To solve this problem, it is recommended to build many inexpensive incinerators at low cost in the disaster area and use the ashes there.

 Various ways of EM use were experimented in order to control dioxin problems in 1990’s. One of them was to degrade dioxin contained in the ashes, by mixing organic matters such as rice bran with the ashes and spraying EM. This method is still used to control dioxin contamination at a dumping site of the contaminated ashes.

 Another method takes advantages of EM’s function of the complete combustion at low temperature. It is very simple: spray EM and EM ceramics powder over the garbage before incinerating, and mix EM ceramics powder in the heat resistant bricks of the incinerator wall. An ordinary people can easily determine if the complete combustion took place or not by the amount of ashes. When the garbage is sprayed with EM and EM ceramics powder and dried before incineration, the garbage will burn without emitting smoke and produce very small amount of ashes.

 When the garbage, after being sprayed with EM and EM ceramics powder and dried, is burned in the incinerator made of concrete mixed with EM and EM ceramics powder, dioxin will not be emitted or if emitted, it will be below the legally designated level. This method was tested in Gushikawa city (renamed as Uruma) of Okinawa prefecture and Wako city of Saitama prefecture, and is still used in old incinerators still operated beyond their useful life.

 EM effects on dioxin are easily observed as in the case of radiation contamination. I recommend composting and re-cycling for faster management of the waste materials. The wooden material may be chopped into smaller pieces, sprayed with EM, bagged in flexible container, and piled up. They will be made into good compost and flooring material for animal sheds.

 The wooden material mixed with plastics, after being sprayed with EM and EM ceramics powder and dried, may be burned in the open air. This will allow managing a larger volume in short period of time.

 Simply stated, mountains of the waste materials brought by the Earthquake may be sprayed with EM and EM ceramics powder and burned in the open air without emitting dioxin. The resulting ashes will be small in quantity and contain no harmful substances; therefore, they can be used in landfill as well as soil improving agent.

 Detecting dioxin is now easily done at low cost. I hope that more people will try EM application.