Pollution Guide

Internal and External Recycling

Most people associate recycling with items such as newspapers, magazines, plastics, aluminum, and glass. The recovery, reprocessing, and reuse of materials from used items is called external recycling and requires public participation. A second type of recycling, internal recycling, is the reuse of waste materials from manufacturing and does not involve the general public. For example, the manufacture production of copper items results in wasted copper pieces with internal recycling, these...

Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center

The secondary environmental effects of terrorism can often be as significant as its primary effects. The attack on the World Trade Center WTC in New York City on September 11, 2001, had negative health consequences beyond the staggering loss of life. The collapse of the structures and subsequent fires spewed an enormous cloud of dust and toxins into the air over the city. Pulverized concrete, building materials, heavy metals, and human remains were inhaled by residents and rescue workers in...

Major Types of Renewable Energy Sources

Types Energy Sources

Biomass includes wood, agricultural crops and residues, municipal refuse, wood and paper products, manufacturing process waste, and human and livestock manure. It can be used to heat homes and buildings, produce electricity, and as a source of vehicle fuel. Wood and paper manufacturers and sugar mills use biomass residues for process heat and electricity production. There are power plants that burn wood, agricultural residues, and household trash to produce electricity. Biogas...

Mass Market P Technologies

Mass-market P2 technologies are those that can be used in many different industries or even in consumer households. These technologies create new markets because their production creates jobs and spin-offs, and they generate ready demand from producers who want to reduce input costs. Each has the following criteria 1. The technology is widely applicable across a variety of industry types and sizes. 2. The technology does not require very large capital expenditures. 3. The technology's...

The Water Treatment Process

Natural Treatment Plant System

Whether in the natural environment or a constructed water-treatment plant, there are several key processes that occur during water treatment dilution, coagulation and flocculation, settling, filtration, disinfection, and other chemical treatments. The quality of the source water and the effectiveness of source-water protection and management have a direct bearing on the complexity of the treatment that is required. Source-water protection is the first step in water treatment, with the natural...

Characterizing Toxicity

Types Dose Response Curves

One measure of response is acute toxicity, which is the amount of a toxicant that will cause an adverse effect within a relatively short period of time (e.g., from instantaneous to within a few days). Another measure of response is chronic toxicity, which is the long-term response to a toxicant. Although the same types of dose-response curves are used to measure the chronic toxicity of toxicants, those measurements are more difficult to quantify because the responses are often less absolute and...

Historical and Regulatory Aspects

Environmental awareness and activism is not a present-day concept In the mid-1700s Benjamin Franklin and others petitioned the Pennsylvania Assembly to stop dumping waste and attempted to regulate waste disposal and water pollution. European countries were correlating sickness with lead and mercury in the late 1700s. In 1855, Chicago became the first U.S. city with a comprehensive sewer plan, and all U.S. towns with populations over 4,000 had city sewers by 1905. In 1899 the Refuse Act...

Noise Pollution

Noise Pollution Global Stats

Ambient surrounding or unconfined air usually but not always referring to outdoor Noise pollution is the intrusion of unwanted, uncontrollable, and unpredictable sounds, not necessarily loud, into the lives of individuals of reasonable sensitivities. Using the reasonable person standard removes the notion that the judgment of sounds as unwanted is subjective. Unwanted sounds or noises can be traced back to Old Testament stories of very loud music and barking dogs as well as to ancient Rome...

Regulatory Reporting and Public Education

Water systems in the United States submit reports each month to state or federal regulatory agencies, summarizing treatment-plant performance and sampling results. The majority of medium and large water systems in the United States have staff working twenty-four hours a day. If something were to go wrong at the plant, the plant operators have procedures that they would follow to shut down the plant, switch to alternate equipment, adjust chemical dosages, or collect additional samples. State and...

Ingredients of Vehicular Pollution

Nitrogen Oxide Pollution

The following are the major pollutants associated with motor vehicles Ozone O3 . The primary ingredient in urban smog, ozone is created when hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides NOx both of which are chemicals released by automobile fuel combustion react with sunlight. Though beneficial in the upper atmosphere, at the ground level ozone can irritate the respiratory system, causing coughing, choking, and reduced lung capacity. Particulate matter PM . These particles of soot, metals, and pollen give...

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA

Established in 1970 under the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) guides the United States' use and protection of its air and water resources. With respect to air resources, the agency conducts research and gathers data about the earth's air, and engages in subsequent technical analyses. Specific agency concerns are air pollution, acid rain, and global warming, all greatly influenced by human activity. With respect to water resources, the...

Mold Pollution

Microorganism bacteria, archaea, and many protists single-celled organisms too small to see with the naked eye substrate surface on which an organism, i.e. mold, grows sick building syndrome shared health and or comfort effects apparently related to occupation of a particular building Mold pollution is the growth of molds in a building resulting in damage to or the destruction of the structure itself (or its contents) and adverse health effects on the building's occupants. It is estimated that...

Early US Legislation

Late in the nineteenth century, the U.S. Congress enacted Section 10 of the River and Harbor Act of 1890, prohibiting any obstruction to the navigation of U.S. waters. The authority to implement the act through a regulatory permit program was given to the secretary of the army acting through the chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In the late 1960s the corps enlarged the scope of its review of permit applications to include fish and wildlife, conservation, pollution, esthetics, ecology,...

US Army Corps of Engineers

Army Corps of Engineers otherwise known as the corps is the world's largest public, engineering, design, and construction management agency. The corps obtains its authority from the secretary of the army and is a division serving the chief of engineers within the Department of the Army. Funded by Congress, the corps' primary responsibilities include the management and execution of civil works programs in or adjacent to the nation's waterways e.g., rivers, harbors,...

US Department of the Interior

Department of the Interior has primary management and conservation responsibility for all federal lands and minerals, national parks, water resources, and wildlife refuges. Its secretary reports directly to the president, and the department's responsibilities are divided among a number of agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Mines, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, Geological Survey, National Park Service, and Office of...

Surface Water Pollution

Duplex 2205 Stainless Composition

Freshwater makes up less than three percent of earth's water, but is the source of virtually all drinking water. In 2002, each U.S. household used an average of 94,000 gallons of water per year. Some 55 percent of that water comes from reservoirs, rivers, and lakes, and a 2000 survey published in EPA's National Water Quality Inventory found almost 40 percent of U.S. rivers and 45 percent of lakes are polluted. These sources, called surface water, are vulnerable to pollution discharged out of...

Visual Pollution

Visual Pollution

Visual pollution is an aesthetic issue, referring to the impacts of pollution that impair one's ability to enjoy a vista or view. The term is used broadly to cover visibility, limits on the ability to view distant objects, as well as the more subjective issue of visual clutter, structures that intrude upon otherwise pretty scenes, as well as graffiti and other visual defacement. Visibility is a measure of how far and how well people can see into the distance. Haze obscures visibility. It is...

For Your Reference

Below is a list of selected symbols, abbreviations, acronyms, and imtialisms that are used regularly throughout the articles in this book. ACM asbestos-containing materials ACTION Activists' Center for Training in Organizing and Networking AFL Affiliated Federation of Labor AFT American Federation of Teachers AHERA Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act AHERA Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Amendment ANILCA Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act ANWR Arctic National Wildlife Refuge...

PCBs Polychlorinated Biphenyls

PCBs, known to cause cancer in animals and believed to cause cancer in humans, are among the most widespread and hazardous synthetic pollutants. They comprise a group of 209 structurally similar compounds, so-called congeners. The individual congeners differ in the degree of chlorination and the positions of the chlorine atoms in the molecule. They are numbered from one to 209 according to a scheme proposed by Ballschmiter and Zell (hence, the term BZ numbers). PCBs are obtained by the...

Diagram Of A Properly Closed Landfill

Landfill Diagram

Cutaway view of a modern landfill designed to prevent the two main hazards of the dump explosions or fires caused by methane gas, and leakage of rainwater mixed with dangerous chemicals or leachate . Cutaway view of a modern landfill designed to prevent the two main hazards of the dump explosions or fires caused by methane gas, and leakage of rainwater mixed with dangerous chemicals or leachate . about the benefits of recovering and burning methane as an energy source. By 2002 the program had...

Pharmaceutical Waste

Pharmaceutical wastes are diverse and in some cases trace amounts can be discarded as medical waste. Certain pharmaceuticals are hazardous wastes when disposed, and some common ones are acute hazardous wastes under RCRA regulations e.g., Epinephrine, Nitroglycerin, Warfarin gt 0.3 . Wastes that are deemed potentially infectious may be treated prior to disposal by a number of different technologies that either disinfect or sterilize them. These technologies include incineration, steam...

Laws And Regulations

Air Pollution Control Act Clean Air Act Clean Water Act Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Disasters Environmental Mining Accidents Disasters Natural Emergency Planning and Community Right-to- Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Laws and Regulations, International Laws and Regulations, United States Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System...

Major US Pollution Control Statutes

One of the first modern environmental protection laws enacted in the United States was the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 NEPA , which requires the government to consider the impact of its actions or policies on the environment. NEPA remains one of the most commonly used environmental laws in the nation. In addition to NEPA, there are numerous pollution-control statutes that apply to such specific environmental media as air and water. The best known of these laws are the Clean Air...

Major US Mining Laws and Regulations

Some major federal laws and regulations affecting the mineral industry include the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, enacted in 1980. This law requires operations to report releases of hazardous substances to the environment and requires cleanup of sites where hazardous substances are found. The Superfund program was established to locate, investigate, and clean up the worst abandoned hazardous waste sites nationwide and...

Coalbed Methane

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas trapped inside coal, can be released into the atmosphere when coal is mined. The 1993 President's Climate Change Action Plan encouraged the recovery of a possible 100 trillion cubic feet of this coal-bed methane for energy. This would reduce methane and carbon dioxide emissions overall, because burning methane produces less carbon dioxide than burning fossil fuels. Scientists from the United States Geological Survey are studying how to extract coal-bed methane...

Evolution of US Environmental Policies

The fundamental framework for U.S. environmental policies, especially those dealing with pollution control, was established during the 1970s with the adoption of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (the major hazardous waste law), and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund), among others. With later amendments, these statutes mandated a public policy system in which the federal government,...

The Future for Renewable Energy

Renewable energy has many advantages that will help to maintain and expand its place in world energy supply Renewable energy resources are enormous hundreds of times beyond the needs of world energy consumption in 2000. Advances in technologies are reducing manufacturing costs and increasing system efficiencies, thereby reducing the cost of energy from renewable resources. Negative environmental and health impacts of renewable energy use are much fewer than those of fossil fuels and nuclear...

Resource Conservation and Recovery

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976 is a federal law aimed at protecting human health and the environment by safely managing and reducing hazardous and solid nonhazardous waste. It gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the task of controlling hazardous waste, through safety regulations, permits, and inspections, from its creation to disposal or from cradle to grave. RCRA also aims to conserve energy and natural resources by giving states or regions the job...

Soil Pollution

Volatilization Denitrification Ppt

Soil pollution comprises the pollution of soils with materials, mostly chemicals, that are out of place or are present at concentrations higher than normal which may have adverse effects on humans or other organisms. It is difficult to define soil pollution exactly because different opinions exist on how to characterize a pollutant while some consider the use of pesticides acceptable if their effect does not exceed the intended result, others do not consider any use of pesticides or even...

Comparative Ecological Footprints

Ecological footprint analysis EFA provides another way to understand the problem of material throughputs in the modern world. The ecological footprint of a specified population may be defined as the area of productive land and water ecosystems required, on a continuous basis, to produce the resources that the population consumes and to assimilate its wastes, wherever on Earth the relevant land water is located. Because of trade and natural flows, portions of any modern nation's eco-footprint...

Pulitzer Prizes Awarded For Environmental Reporting

Milwaukee (WI) Journal For its successful campaign to stiffen the law against water pollution in Wisconsin, a notable advance in the national effort for the conservation of natural resources. Winston-Salem (NC) Journal and Sentinel For coverage of environmental problems, as exemplified by a successful campaign to block strip mining operation that would have caused irreparable damage to the hill country of northwest North Carolina. James Risser of the Des Moines (IA) Register For a series on...

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements Pollution

There are so many people to thank for their commitment, encouragement, and patience along the way. First, the editorial team at Macmillan Reference Clean-up efforts underway at Love Canal, May 22, 1980. Bettmann Corbis. Reproduced by permission. See Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act CERCLA Environmental Movement Gibbs, Lois History Laws and Regulations, United States Mass Media Politics Boats approaching the oil-covered beach of Green Island, Alaska,...

Earth Summit and Agenda

Environmental justice and the connection between poverty and pollution have been gaining increased attention globally, both from governmental and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In 1992 the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in what came to be known as the Earth Summit (June 3 to 14). Unprecedented in size, the meeting focused on sustainable development, and its main result was a document of goals and plan of action known as...

Risks from Sewage Sludge A Cross Country Comparison

Sewage sludge is the semisolid or concentrated liquid residue generated during the treatment of wastewater. In addition to biodegradable organic material, sludges can contain pathogens (disease organisms) and industrial pollutants (such as heavy metals) that can be damaging to human health. Among the means for disposing of sludges by incineration, landfilling, or spreading across farmland and other open space only land application has the benefit of returning the fertilizing nutrients in sludge...

Underground Storage Tank

Leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) containing hazardous liquids, primarily petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, or oil have contaminated the groundwater and drinking water of thousands of communities across the United States. Following the boom in automobile sales after World War II, gasoline stations mushroomed across the county to meet the demand for personal mobility. At these new stations, gasoline was stored underground in tanks made of bare steel, which were not...

Nongovernmental Organizations NGOs

Collaborative efforts among the public have played an important role in shaping the political and social values and hence public policy of the United States. Organizing with others who share a similar vision enhances the potential for change. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) accomplish just that. Established outside of political parties, NGOs are aimed at advocating the public's To preserve and promote awareness about the world's endangered biodiversity. To protect and promote sustainable...

Issues Facing the Field of Public Participation

Like any new field, the public participation field faces many challenges. Environmental activists and business leaders tend to be both white and middle class. Racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in many public participation processes. Language and cultural differences may account for some of the underrepresentation. But other barriers include a general fear of government agencies (who were sometimes sources of outright oppression in immigrants' countries of origin) and the belief...

Air Pollution

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designates six criteria pollutants for determining air quality. These are carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NO and or NO2, usually referred to as NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ground-level ozone (O3), particulate matter (including things like soot, dust, asbestos fibers, pesticides, and metals), and lead (Pb). Petroleum-fueled vehicles, engines, and industrial processes directly produce the vast majority of CO and NOx in the atmosphere. They are...

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is energy that is regenerative or, for all practical pur- regenerative able to be regen- poses, virtually inexhaustible. It includes solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, biomass (derived from plants), geothermal energy (heat from the earth), and ocean energy. Renewable energy resources can supply energy for heating and cooling buildings, electricity generation, heat for industrial processes, and fuels for transportation. The increased use of renewable energy could reduce the...

Relationship between Resource Competition and Terrorism

The United States is often a target of asymmetrical warfare, such as terrorism, because of its military superiority and worldwide economic interests. Many scholars studying peace have reasoned that, in order to defeat terrorism, we must remedy the conditions that give rise to it. One of the most pressing American national security interests is ensuring continued global access to natural commodities such as oil, minerals, and timber. However, the United States already consumes approximately 30...

Cleaner Fuels

The gasoline and diesel fuel in use today contains significant amounts of sulfur and other compounds that make it harder for existing control technology to keep vehicles clean. Removing the sulfur from the fuel and cutting down on the amount of light hydrocarbons helps pollution-control technology to work better and cuts down on evaporative and refueling emissions. Further large-scale reductions of other tailpipe pollution and CO2 can be accomplished with a shift away from conventional fuels....

Waste to Energy

Waste to energy (WTE) is the term used to describe the conversion of waste by-products into useful steam or steam-generated electricity. Typically, WTE is produced by converting municipal solid waste (MSW), which is defined as residential and commercial refuse, and makes up the largest source of waste in industrialized countries. This industry has been producing heat and power in the United States for a century, and there are currently more than one hundred WTE plants nationwide. Recently,...

Progressive Movement

The Progressive Era, a term used to describe the period between approximately 1890 and 1920, witnessed an explosion of reform efforts in America. A great number of people, for a variety of reasons, participated in a vast number of diverse reforms, including women's suffrage, political reform, and prohibition. Progressive reformers initiated these changes in reaction to the increased level of, and problems associated with, urbanization and industrialization in late-nineteenth-century America....

Ultraviolet Radiation

Incident solar sun energy that hits a particular spot suppression reduction in or prevention of an effect Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that lies between visible light and x rays in its energy and wavelength. It is a component of the radiation that reaches the Earth from the sun. The broad UV band, having wavelengths between 190 nanometers (nm) and 400 nm, is conventionally divided into three parts UV-A or near-UV (315 to 400 nm), UV-B or mid-UV (280 to 315...

Treaties and Regulations

There are hundreds of treaties and other international instruments relating to pollution. Some prominent examples include the following The 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) calls for an immediate ban on certain chemicals, severely restricts the use of others, and provides for POPs to be disposed of and managed using environmentally sound methods. To address the problem of climate change, which is caused by an increased concentration of carbon in the atmosphere,...

What Is Being Done

There are many views on what to do about global population growth. Several advocacy groups, such as Negative Population Growth, Zero Population Growth, Planned Parenthood, and the Carrying Capacity Network, focus on raising public awareness about birth control and the need to lower fertility rates. At least one group (Negative Population Growth) advocates that the U.S. government should provide incentives for smaller families and should limit immigration in the United States. The world's most...

Groundwater Pollution

Water contained in the pores of soil or in aquifers is called groundwater. About 40 percent of U.S. municipal water comes from groundwater and an additional forty million people, including most of the rural population, draw drinking water from domestic wells. Groundwater, while protected by the filtering action of soil, can be contaminated by leaking municipal landfills, sewage lagoons, and chemicals from industrial activity. Centers for Disease Control data shows that 318 waterborne disease...

Prevention and Abatement

Once water is contaminated, it is difficult, expensive, and sometimes impossible to remove pollutants. Technologies to remove contaminants from groundwater are air stripping, granular activated carbon, and advanced oxidation. Air stripping involves pumping out the contaminated water, then heating it to evaporate the contaminant. The cleaned water is reinjected into the ground. Pumping out contaminated water and absorbing the pollutant on activated charcoal can remove less volatile compounds....

The Water Cycle

The requirements of the CWA and SDWA are different, but interrelated. Consider the water cycle and the water-use cycle. Water falls to the earth in the form of precipitation. It drains into rivers, lakes, and streams either naturally or via constructed storm-water-drainage systems. Industrial manufacturers and wastewater treatment plants discharge effluent from their processes into lakes and rivers. Under the CWA, these facilities have water-quality limits that their effluent must meet. These...

Future Legislative Action

As stated earlier, the single-medium approach to environmental protection is an impediment to progress. Many attempts have been made to change laws or regulations on the federal, state, and local levels to leverage more opportunities for prevention and cleaner production without dismantling the current regulatory framework. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA has overseen several initiatives designed to allow more flexibility within the current system, in the hope of attaining more...

Times Beach Missouri

According to former mayor Marilyn Leistner, the 2,000 residents of Times Beach, Missouri, a community located along the Meramec River, endured a lasting toxic waste episode throughout the Christmas holiday season of 1982. In 1974 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identified dioxin-contaminated waste oil as the cause of death for an unspecified number of dogs and songbirds in Times Beach. In the early 1970s, many municipalities, including Times Beach, commissioned the use of waste oil...

Radioactive Waste Disposal

Various methods to manage and dispose of radioactive waste have been considered. Proposed management and disposal methods have included the transuranic waste waste containing one or more radioactive elements heavier than uranium, created in nuclear power plants or processing facilities COMMON CATEGORIES OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE Common Radionuclides in Waste and Their Half-Life (y years) Highly radioactive material that is deemed a waste that requires special precautions by humans, including remote...

Mining Life Cycle

Minerals are a nonrenewable resource, and because of this, the life of mines is finite, and mining represents a temporary use of the land. The mining life cycle during this temporary use of the land can be divided into the following stages exploration, development, extraction and processing, and mine closure. Exploration is the work involved in determining the location, size, shape, position, and value of an ore body using prospecting methods, geologic mapping and field investigations, remote...

Ocean Dumping Ban

The Ocean Dumping Ban Act, enacted in 1988, significantly amended portions of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 and banned ocean dumping of municipal sewage sludge and industrial waste (with limited exceptions) by phased target dates. The disposal of sewage sludge in waters off New York City was a major motivation for its enactment. Eligible municipalities previously had been allowed to dispose of sewage sludge beyond the so-called 106-mile ocean waste dumpsite, but...

Wastewater Treatment Types

Rural unsewered areas, for the most part, use septic systems. In these, a large tank, known as the septic tank, settles out and stores solids, which are partially decomposed by naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria. The solids have to be pumped out and hauled by tank truck to be disposed of separately. They often go to municipal wastewater treatment plants, or are reused as fertilizer in closely regulated land-application programs. Liquid wastes are dispersed through perforated pipes into soil...

Combined Sewer Overflows

Combined sewer systems are sewers that are designed to collect rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipe. Most of the time, combined sewer systems transport all of their wastewater to a sewage treatment plant, where it is treated and then discharged to a water body. During periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt, however, the wastewater volume in a combined sewer system can exceed the capacity of the sewer system or treatment plant. For this reason, combined...

Water Pollution

Water covers more than 70 percent of Earth's surface. It is essential to all life. Organisms can survive longer without food than without water. It is one of our most valuable resources. Pollute means to make impure or unclean. In that sense, water pollution has always occurred as a natural phenomenon. Forest fires, storms, volcanoes, or a heavy leaf fall can contaminate a water body. However, these organic materials are broken down or biodegraded naturally. Pollution as we know it began when...

Composting Recycling Organic Materials

Composting is a method of recycling organic materials, such as certain food waste and yard clippings, directly into the soil. Although there are many ways to make composts, the basic idea is to mix yard clippings and food waste into a pile with soil and let it decompose worms, insects, and other organisms The Netherlands recycled more than three quarters (77 )of the approximately 65 million tons of garbage it generated in 2000. Public pressure to reduce dioxin emissions from incineration plants...

The Process of Converting Waste to Energy

Generally, WTE facilities can be divided into two process types mass burn and refuse-derived fuel (RDF). Mass burn facilities process raw waste that has not been shredded, sized, or separated before combustion, although large items such as appliances and hazardous waste materials and batteries are removed before combustion. In mass burn systems, untreated MSW is simply burned, with the heat produced converted into steam, which can then be passed through a steam turbine to generate electricity...

Energy Production from Waste in the United States and South America

South America, with its agrarian societies, surprisingly consumes very few wastes for the production of steam or electricity. Brazil is the largest country in South America and is also the largest energy consumer, consuming about 8.5 quads of energy each year as compared to 6.1 quads for Mexico, 12.5 quads for Canada, and 97.0 quads for the United States. Due to the large size of Brazil's agricultural sector, biomass is seen as the best future alternative energy source. Currently, Brazil...

Vehicular Pollution

Energy Efficiency Fuel Cell Fuel Economy Ozone Petroleum Smog Beneficial Use Biosolids Burn Barrels Hazardous Waste Injection Well Landfill Medical Waste Ocean Dumping Plastic Waste Reduction Waste to Energy Waste, International Trade in Waste, Transportation of Yucca Mountain Dredging Dry Cleaning Energy Fish Kills Groundwater Hypoxia Infectious Waste Injection Well Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Nonpoint Source Pollution...

Medical Waste

Medical wastes are generated as a result of patient diagnosis and or treatment or the immunization of human beings or animals. The subset of medical waste that potentially could transmit an infectious disease is termed infectious waste. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) concur that the following wastes should be classified as infectious waste sharps (needles, scalpels, etc.), laboratory cultures and...

Reduced Use and Recycling

There is growing concern about the excess use of plastics, particularly in packaging. This has been done, in part, to avoid the theft of small objects. The use of plastics can be reduced through a better choice of container sizes and through the distribution of liquid products in more concentrated form. A concern is the proper disposal of waste plastics. Litter results from careless disposal, and decomposition rates in landfills can be extremely long. Consumers should be persuaded or required...

Combustion Air Stripping and Adsoprtion

Combustion is the process of burning, a chemical reaction. It involves combining combustible material with oxygen under conditions that produce light and heat in addition to by-products. The combustion of wastes, such as municipal solid waste, sludge, or hazardous waste, results in gaseous emissions and a solid ash residue. It significantly reduces the volume and mass of waste requiring disposal, by shifting some wastes to gaseous form. Although carbon dioxide has been implicated in global...

Reuse by the Individual

Individuals can maximize the environmental and economic benefits of their own reuse efforts by carefully contemplating their reuse strategies, by developing the ability to make repairs, and by learning about local sources of used goods and replacement parts. The environmental and economic benefits of reuse typically increase as the size and cost of the item increase. For example, new furniture is both resource-intensive and expensive. Repair, repainting, and reupholstering of used furniture can...

Settlement House Movement

As more women gained access to a college education in the late nineteenth century, many hoped to use their skills and talents for more than homemak-ing and child rearing. Jane Addams, born in 1860 to a Quaker miller in Illinois, was one of these women who hoped to improve the life of others and society at large. After completing her education, Addams took a trip to Europe, where social activism in the slums of London had a dramatic effect on her. She returned to Chicago to found her own version...

Solid Waste

The garbage that is managed by local governments is known as municipal solid waste (MSW). Specifically, MSW is waste generated by commercial and household sources that is collected and either recycled, incinerated, or disposed of in MSW landfills. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) separates MSW into several categories, including containers and packaging, yard wastes, durable goods, and nondurable goods. Examples of Plants can absorb, accumulate and in some cases break down...

MSW Management

In response to mounting solid waste problems, EPA published The Solid Waste Dilemma An Agenda for Action in 1989, which presents goals and recommendations for action by the EPA, state and local governments, industry, and consumers to address the solid waste problems facing the United States. The EPA recommends an integrated, hierarchical approach to waste management using four components source reduction, recycling, combustion, and landfills. This comprehensive approach addresses critical...

Source Reduction

Hydroelectricity

Source reduction, also known as waste prevention, is a front-end approach to addressing MSW problems by changing the way products are made and used. source reduction reducing the amount of materials entering the waste stream from a specific source by redesigning products or patterns of production or consumption (e.g., using returnable beverage containers) synonymous with waste reduction (top) Breakdown of the 229.9 million tons of MSW generated in the United States in 1999 by material category....

International Solid Waste Management

Because solid waste is generated everywhere, addressing the environmentally safe management of solid waste is not limited to the United States. Management strategies vary by country and region, although most programs address waste issues with models consisting of some combination of source reduction, combustion, recycling, and landfills. For example, the European Environment Agency (EEA) offers solid-waste management guidance analogous to EPA's integrated hierarchy. Specifically, the Community...

Organization and Administration

The EPA is one of many independent agencies of the executive branch of the U.S. government. It derives its authority to carry out pollution-control A worker is undergoing a decontamination process. (U.S. EPA. Reproduced by permission.) Seal of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA. Reproduced by permission.) Seal of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA. Reproduced by permission.) programs through statutes passed by Congress. Although there have been several...

Waste Types

A solid waste does not flow like water or gas. Examples include paper, wood, metals, glass, plastic, and contaminated soil. Solid wastes can be hazardous or nonhazardous. Problems associated with nonhazardous solid waste include aesthetic problems (litter and odors), leachate from the infiltration of water through the waste, and off-gases resulting from biodegradation. Nonhaz-ardous solid wastes are commonly handled by recycling, combustion, land-filling, and composting. Liquid wastes must be...

Waste Reduction

Waste reduction, also known as source reduction, is the practice of using less material and energy to minimize waste generation and preserve natural resources. Waste reduction is broader in scope than recycling and incorporates ways to prevent materials from ending up as waste before they reach the recycling stage. Waste reduction includes reusing products such as plastic and glass containers, purchasing more durable products, and using reusable products, such as dishrags instead of paper...

The EPAs Waste Wise Program

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists waste reduction and reuse as top priorities in its solid waste management hierarchy, followed by recycling, composting, waste-to-energy, and landfilling. Many governments and businesses have adopted the practice of waste reduction. The EPA offers a free, comprehensive waste-reduction program to businesses, organizations, and municipalities. The program, called WasteWise, offers educational and technical assistance in developing, executing, and...

The National Recycling Coalition Recommendations

The National Recycling Coalition lists several steps that purchasing departments of organizations can use in their waste-reduction strategies 1. Reduce product use. Adopt the practice of printing on both sides of office paper. 2. Rent or lease products or equipment. This includes leasing, rather than purchasing, equipment such as photocopiers, which can become obsolete, leaving the organization with old, unnecessary, and sometimes hazardous equipment to discard. 3. Purchase remanufactured or...

Recycling

Recycling refers to the separation and collection of wastes and their subsequent transformation or remanufacture into usable or marketable materials. Recycling, including composting, diverts potentially large volumes of material from landfills and combustors, and prevents the unnecessary waste of natural resources and raw materials. Other environmental benefits offered by recycling include a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, energy conservation, and the preservation of biodiversity and...

Pros Cons and Other Countries

Superfund's proponents argue that the EPA must have the authority and resources to clean up hazardous waste sites. Otherwise, reluctant responsible parties will have no incentive to bear the burden of cleanup. In such cases, the protection of public health and remediation of damages to the environment would be left for taxpayers to finance. Those against Superfund reauthoriza-tion claim that many industries are responsibly handling the matter of hazardous waste sites and have invested sizable...

Particulates

Chromosome Patterns

Particulates, or particulate matter (PM), refer to any mixture of solid particles or liquid droplets that remain suspended in the atmosphere for appreciable time periods. Examples of particulates are dust and salt particles, and water and sulphuric acid droplets. The length of time a particle survives in the atmosphere depends on the balance between two processes. Gravity forces the particles to settle to the earth's surface, but atmospheric turbulence can carry the particles in the opposite...

Point Sources of Air Pollution

Point sources of air pollution include stationary sources such as power plants, smelters, industrial and commercial boilers, wood and pulp processors, paper mills, industrial surface coating facilities, refinery and chemical processing operations, and petroleum storage tanks. Examples of nonpoint sources of air pollution include on-road mobile sources such as cars and trucks nonroad mobile sources such as construction and recreation equipment engines and natural sources such as windstorms and...

Point Sources of Water Pollution

Oxygen freely available in water, vital to fish and other aquatic life and for the prevention of odors DO levels are considered a most important indicator of a water body's ability to support desirable aquatic life secondary and advanced waste treatment are generally designed to ensure adequate DO in waste-receiving waters priority pollutant a designated set of common water pollutants Point sources of water pollution include municipal sewage treatment plant discharges and industrial plant...

Site Cleanup Remedies

Technologies employed to clean up sites include procedures that have been used for decades in treating water and air pollution also, novel techniques heavy metals metallic elements with high atomic weights (e.g. mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic, and lead) can damage living things at low concentrations and tend to accumulate in the food chain DDT the first chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide (chemical name Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) it has a half-life of 15 years and can collect in...

US Department of Agriculture

Department of Agriculture (DOA) works with landowners to maintain the productive capacity of their land while helping them to protect soil, water, forests and other natural resources. The department conducts a large part of this work through two of its agencies the Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Forest Service is charged with the oversight of 191 million acres of federal land. In advancing its pollution-control efforts, the...

Ocean Dumping

Beach Pollution

Ocean disposal of society's waste got its start indirectly long before the Agricultural Age when nearby streams, lakes, and estuaries were useful as waste repositories. As civilization moved to the coastal zone and navigation began in earnest, the oceans were viewed as even a larger waste repository. Early civilizations were located adjacent to bodies of water for sources of food, irrigation, drinking water, transportation, and a place to dispose of unnecessary items. Historically, the disposal...

Activities and Accomplishments

The EPA is responsible for implementing and enforcing more than twenty-four major environmental statutes. Some of the most significant environmental statutes include the Clean Air Act the Clean Water Act the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund) the Toxic Substances Control Act the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The EPA has achieved many significant successes in implementing these programs. One of...

Disinfection ByProducts

Disinfection, one of the primary tools of water treatment, is the removal and inactivation of pathogenic microbes, that is, small organisms such as viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, that can cause disease. Disinfection has historically been accomplished using chlorination, the destruction of microbes by hypochlorous acid and the hypochlorous ion, formed by the reaction of chlorine gas and water or added directly as hypochlorite salts. Large improvements in public health occur when pathogen-free...

History of Water Treatment

Water-treatment concepts underlying those used today were developed in Europe during the 1700s. An outbreak of cholera in London was linked to a sewage-contaminated drinking water well in 1854. John Snow was credited with this finding. At the point in which the United States began using chlorine to disinfect drinking water (1908), Europe was also using chlorine but exploring the possibility of employing ozone to treat drinking water. The U.S. Public Health Service developed the first...

Regulations Role of the Agency in US Pollution Control

Federal agencies in the United States are established through enabling legislation known as organic acts. These acts create and empower agencies, as well as define and limit their roles. Congress delegates a certain amount of authority to each agency, allowing its officials to develop regulations to ensure that the agency's duties will be achieved. Congress grants this authority to agencies because the legislature cannot always foresee all the elements that will be Clean Air Act 1970 42 USC...

Nonaqueous Phase Liquids NAPLs

Nonaqueous Phase Liquids (NAPLs) are hazardous organic liquids such as dry cleaning fluids, fuel oil, and gasoline that do not dissolve in water. A significant portion of contaminated soil and groundwater sites contain NAPLs, and they are particularly hard to remove from the water supply. NAPLs are always associated with human activity, and cause severe environmental and health hazards. Dense NAPLs (DNAPLs) such as the chlorinated hydrocarbons used in dry cleaning and industrial degreasing are...

Leading Contributors to Nonpoint Source Pollution

States and other jurisdictions reported in the National Water Quality Inventory that agriculture and urban runoff are among the leading contributors to A cow drinking in a dried-up riverbed. (U.S. EPA) A cow drinking in a dried-up riverbed. (U.S. EPA) hydromodification any process that alters the hydrologic characteristics of a body of water deteriorating water quality nationwide. The most common nonpoint source pollutants causing water-quality problems include nutrients (nitrogen and...

Effects on Humans

The most important aspect of pesticides is how they affect humans. There is increasing anxiety about the importance of small residues of pesticides, often suspected of being carcinogens or disrupting endocrine activities, in drinking water and food. In spite of stringent regulations by international and national regulatory agencies, reports of pesticide residues in human foods, both imported and home-produced, are numerous. Over the last fifty years many human illnesses and deaths have occurred...

Sampling and Extraction

Air can be actively or passively sampled. Actively sampled air is pumped through a filter or chemical solution. For example, airborne lead, mostly originating from metals processing plants, is collected on filters by active sampling and then analyzed spectroscopically. Air that is not pumped but allowed to flow or diffuse naturally is passively sampled. Nitrogen oxides, resulting from vehicle emissions and combustion, can be monitored in passive sampling tubes by their reaction with...

Differences in Sensitivities

Resolving the adverse effects of a toxicant are further complicated by the variations in those effects in different species. Some species are more sensitive to certain toxicants than others, and the effects of toxicants on different tissues often vary between species. Because such variations occur between humans and rodents, in spite of the similarity (95 ) in their DNA, extrapolations of laboratory studies on the effects of toxicants on rats and mice to human health must always take this into...

Municipal Waste

Due to rapidly decreasing space in urban landfills, officials have been forced to find alternate locations for municipal waste disposal. This has created significant financial incentives for rural communities to accept garbage from urban areas. Depending on the location of these rural facilities, it may be necessary to transport large quantities of wastes by a variety of methods, most often by truck, railway, or barge. Many citizens are concerned about the transportation of the waste through...

Human and Environmental Health Effects

Watershed the land area that drains into a stream the watershed for a major river may encompass a number of smaller watersheds Fertilizer, animal manure, and waste-treatment plant effluent all contain nutrients that stimulate excessive plant and algal growth in freshwater bodies. When the plants die and decompose, dissolved oxygen is depleted, causing die-offs of fish and other species living in the water. Persistent organochlorine insecticides, such as DDT, deposited in lake sediments can...

Water Quality Regulations in the United States

The EPA, under the requirements of the SDWA, regulates drinking water in the United States. The EPA additionally regulates wastewater, but under the requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Storm water and discharges into surface water are also regulated under the CWA. The SDWA sets maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) and treatment techniques (TTs) that drinking water must meet to be considered safe for consumption. The list includes microorganisms, disinfectants and disinfection by-products,...

The Cold War Legacy

Military activities and preparations for war can have enormous environmental impacts even without a shot being fired. The development of the atomic bomb during the early 1940s, referred to as the Manhattan Project, not only had devastating consequences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also produced a long-lasting legacy of deadly radioactive pollution in the United States. In 1939 Nobel Prize physicist Niels Bohr warned that although it was possible for the United States to build an atom bomb, it...

The Evolution of Public Participation

From the 1930s onward, the size of the U.S. federal government grew very rapidly, and government became involved in making many decisions that affected people's lives. As government grew, decisions previously made in a political process were increasingly delegated to technical experts. Over time, many people began to feel that impersonal bureaucrats were making decisions which controlled their lives. After the Depression and World War II, there was broad general agreement in the United States...

Warren County North Carolina

In 1982 residents of the predominantly African-American Warren County, North Carolina, began to protest the construction of a hazardous waste landfill near Warrenton in which the state planned to bury 400,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The contamination occurred when a disposal contractor dripped approximately 12,850 gallons of PCB-tainted fluids along 210 miles of roads in fourteen counties in North Carolina in 1978. Soon after the spill was...

Historical and Current

Before the 1900s, the world as a whole used wood (including wood converted to charcoal) for heat in homes and industry, vegetation for feeding draft animals, water mills for grinding grain and milling lumber, and wind for marine transportation and grain milling and water pumping. By the 1920s, however, coal and petroleum had largely replaced these energy sources in industrialized countries, although wood for home heating and hydroelectric power generation remained in wide use. At the end of the...

Systems Science

Most traditional science works within a very restricted disciplinary domain requiring a careful and often technically rigorous and demanding approach that includes, at least in theory, the use of the Baconian scientific method of test and control in a restricted laboratory environment. This is how most science operates, and it is often a very successful approach. However, such an approach is very difficult to apply to many real problems, including those in the complex natural or seminatural...