WASHINGTON -- Thousands of hazardous waste sites in the U.S.are waiting to be cleaned up. And now the U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA) has published a report designed tohelp companies in the cleanup business determine exactly whatopportunities exist.

Those opportunities are vast. Only 5 percent of the estimated1,500 to 2,100 Superfund sites have been cleaned up.Additionally, there are about 7,300 Department of Defense(DOD) waste sites, 4,000 Department of Energy sites, possibly19,000 state sites, 295,000 underground storage tanks, and stillmore.

The underground storage tanks represent one of the biggestopportunities for biotechnology since 91 percent of these sitescontain petroleum products. DOD sites also frequently containpetroleum products, as well as nitrates, which are alsoamenable to bioremediation.

But so far no vendor has used biotechnology to clean hazardouswaste sites. "No vendors that we have come across are offeringgenetically engineered solutions because so many believe thatexisting microbes can deal with the problem," said WaltKovalick, director of EPA's technology innovation and deputyassistant administrator for the Office of Solid Wastes andEmergency Response.

The EPA report provides details on each class of site, includingthe characteristics and quantities of the hazardous waste,market entry considerations, estimated dollar value of cleanup,and other information.

"Cleaning Up the Nation's Waste Sites: Markets and TechnologyTrends," Document No. PB93-140762, is available for $17.50from the National Technical Information Service, 5285 PortRoyal Road, Springfield, VA 22161; (703) 487-4600.

-- David C. Holzman Washington Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.