A method of separating ultra-fine particulates from an aqueous suspension such as a process stream or a waste stream. The method involves the addition of alkali silicate and an organic gelling agent to a volume of liquid, from the respective process or waste stream, to form a gel. The gel then undergoes syneresis to remove water and soluble salts from the gel containing the particulates, thus, forming a silica monolith. The silica monolith is then sintered to form a hard, nonporous waste form.
CONTRACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE INVENTION
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Chicago.