This facility, in a remote Idaho desert, disposes of hazardous waste. Materials disposed of in these drums may include:

  • asbestos (once used as insulation)
  • pesticides
  • PCBs (once used as coolants)
  • dust generated by steel production
  • battery acid
  • DDT
  • lead-based paints
  • waste from laboratories, such as chemically sensitive acids, mercury, or flammable liquids

The facility also disposes of low-level radioactive waste. Low-level radioactive wastes are items that have become contaminated by exposure to radiation, usually at nuclear energy power plants. They include:

  • clothing
  • tools
  • rags
  • medical supplies, such as syringes and test tubes
  • mops
  • carcasses of animals used in laboratory experiments

asbestos
Noun

mineral previously used to manufacture fireproof materials and insulation.

battery acid
Noun

toxic chemical made of hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen that is used to operate vehicle batteries. Also called sulfuric acid.

carcass
Noun

dead body.

contaminate
Verb

to poison or make hazardous.

DDT
Noun

(dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) toxic chemical used as an insecticide but illegal for most uses in the U.S. since 1972.

Noun

area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.

facility
Noun

a building or room that serves a specific function.

flammable
Adjective

easily set on fire.

hazardous waste
Noun

manufacturing byproduct that is toxic or harmful to people and the environment.

lead
Noun

chemical element with the symbol Pb.

Noun

energy released by reactions among the nuclei of atoms.

PCB
Noun

(polychlorinated biphenal) chemical substance that can occur naturally or be manufactured that may cause cancer.

pesticide
Noun

natural or manufactured substance used to kill organisms that threaten agriculture or are undesirable. Pesticides can be fungicides (which kill harmful fungi), insecticides (which kill harmful insects), herbicides (which kill harmful plants), or rodenticides (which kill harmful rodents.)

power plant
Noun

industrial facility for the generation of electric energy.

radiation
Noun

energy, emitted as waves or particles, radiating outward from a source.

radioactive waste
Noun

byproduct of nuclear fission that emits a type of heat, or radiation, that can damage the tissue of living organisms.

remote
Adjective

distant or far away.

steel
Noun

metal made of the elements iron and carbon.

syringe
Noun

small device consisting of a hollow needle and tube, used for extracting or injecting fluid into the body.