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UNIT 3: Waste Management 5/1/07 Solid waste disposal.

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Presentation on theme: "UNIT 3: Waste Management 5/1/07 Solid waste disposal."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNIT 3: Waste Management 5/1/07 Solid waste disposal

2 Side note: Review Envi. Law (Ch. 18) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (1969) Water law Pollution control: –Clean Water Act (1977) –Clean Air Act (1963) Waste Disposal –Solid Waste Disposal Act (1965) –Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) (1976) –CERCLA (1980)

3 Old approach to solid waste The dump

4 The local dump: Mission Bay “Landfill” Operated from 1952 to 1959 Records on dumping destroyed in 1959 when closed City denied existence till 1987 Ramada Hotels study – 68 toxic substances found in soil sample – Heavy metals, plating solutions, cyanide, arsenic, hydrogen sulfide, methane Existence preventing further building, development, and landscaping of bay front property Uncapped and uncontained – Mission Bay dredge spoils used for coverage


6 Mission Bay Landfill Potentially top 20 CERCLA site Waste in 55 gallon drums with 15 year life expectancy Health and environmental concerns – Hydrogen sulfide levels at Sea World ride Mission Bay recreational area San Diego River wetland area

7 Recent Investigation 2002 Councilwoman Donna Frye convenes Mission Bay Technical Advisory Committee – Members from consulting, academia, citizens Develop two phase study at cost of $600,000 initiated in 2002 SCS Engineers conducted study; completed in 2006 d6/crtk/mblandfill.shtml



10 Sanitary Landfill Refuse is deposited, compacted, and covered Potential hazards: –Leachate: mineralized liquid Concentration of pollutants much higher than raw sewage or slaughterhouse waste –Methane gas May be trapped and used for energy generation




14 Closed sanitary landfill

15 “State of the art” landfill with a double liner of clay and plastic, a leachate collection system, and groundwater and vadose zone monitoring wells Map view Cross section

16 Site selection for sanitary landfills Avoid: –siteing over aquifers –swampy areas –Floodplains –High water table Seek: –Siteing over rocks of low hydraulic conductivity (clays & silts) –Flat areas






22 Monitoring sanitary landfills Monitoring wells to monitor groundwater Monitoring wells to monitor vadose zone Test soils –Gases –Heavy metals Test crops and plants in the disposal area Test surface water runoff

23 San Diego Landfills & issues Miramar Landfill ental-services/ems/index.shtml ental-services/ems/index.shtml

24 Hazardous Chemical and Radioactive Waste Management Don’t put down the drain or in the landfill

25 Hazardous Chemical and Radioactive Waste Management Don’t put down the drain or in the landfill

26 Hazardous Waste –Toxic to humans and other living things –ignite or explode –corrosive –Unstable –150 million metric tons (excluding radioactive waste) generated in the U.S. per year


28 Examples of hazardous waste Organic compounds Organic solvents and residues Heavy metals Oil Pigments Acids Cyanides Dyes Ammonia salts Radioactive waste

29 Hazardous wastes may be produced in the manufacture of: plastics pesticides medicines paints petroleum products metals leather textiles

30 Regulations 1976: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) –Stringent record keeping and reporting to track “cradle to grave” control of hazardous waste

31 1980: Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) Established a revolving fund (“superfund”) to clean up the worst abandoned hazardous waste sites –“EPA National Priorities List”

32 Envi Impacts at Superfund Priorities Sites



35 Cost of Superfund taxes on oil and some products that generate hazardous wastes 1980: $1.6 billion 1986: $ 8.5 billion 1990: $ 11.5 billion –Average cost to clean up a SINGLE SITE: $30 million (not counting litigation) By 1995: 40,000 sites.

36 Hazardous waste disposal Hazardous Chemical Wastes: 1) Secure landfill 2) Deep well 3) Other: Incineration Neutralized by chemical treatment Radioactive Wastes




40 Radioactive waste Differ from other hazardous chemical wastes –Half life: Uranium-238: T 1/2 : 4.5 billion yrs Plutonium-239: T 1/2 : 24,000 yrs. Strontium-90: T 1/2 : 29 yrs Iodine-131: T 1/2 : 8 days –Type of radiation emitted




44 Classification of Radioactive Wastes Low level –Over 90% –States dispose of their own High level –Spent reactor fuel rods –Currently contained in temporary disposal sites –1985: EPA specified that they should be disposed so they cause fewer than 1000 deaths in 10,000 years

45 How Much Nuclear Waste is in the United States? 49,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors. spent nuclear fuel 22,000 canisters of solid defense-related radioactive waste defense-related radioactive waste

46 Where is radioactive waste kept temporary facilities at some 125 sites in 39 states. more than 161 million people reside within 75 miles of temporarily stored nuclear waste.



49 Treating radioactive waste 1. Leaving it where it is 2. Disposing of it in various ways ◦ Sub-seabed disposal ◦Very deep-hole disposal ◦ Space disposal ◦ Ice-sheet disposal ◦ Island geologic disposal ◦ Deep-well injection disposal 3. Making it safer through advanced technologies


51 Nuclear Waste Policy Act (1982) established a comprehensive national program for the safe, permanent disposal of highly radioactive waste directed the U.S. Department of Energy to study suitable sites for a geologic repositoryU.S. Department of Energy the Nuclear Regulatory Commission & the Department of Energy is to build and operate it –in 2002, Congress and the President approved the development of a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

52 Selecting a site for permanent high-level radioactive disposal: Issues: –Sites with LONG TERM geologic stability –Social/Political issues –Arid climate –Low regional water table –Low population density –Appropriate rock and geologic structure –Engineering technology for containment

53 Two sites were in development in U.S. Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) –Carlsbad, New Mexico –Store waste drums in rooms in underground salt deposit Yucca Mountain, Nevada*** –1987: Congress designated as the only site for study –Storage in volcanic tuff




57 Yucca Mountain Project Over 20 years of study 4 billion dollars February 15, 2002: President Bush recommended to Congress the issuance of a construction permit for the site








65 Most Popular Reasons To Oppose Yucca Mountain Project 1. Accomplishes No Reasonable Objective. –Not enough space to store all of the waste 2. Provides Minimal Protection. –The casks provide the protection. So why Yuca Mtn? 3. Creates More Nuclear Waste. –Facilities have a storage limit. By decreasing the storage on-site, additional waste will be generated. 4. Adverse Effects on Future Generations. –Average half life of over 200,000 years. 5. Earthquake Danger. –Third most seismically active area in US.

66 Opposition to Yucca Mnt. (Cont.) 6. Fifty Million People Endangered. –Routes will move through 734 counties across the United States. The high-level radioactive waste contained in the casks will endanger 50 million innocent people who live within 3 miles of the proposed shipment routes. 7. Terrorist Attacks. 8. Costly Accidents and Limited Liability. –For each spill that may occur (one out of every 300 shipments is expected to have an accident) the cost of the clean-up is estimated conservatively at $6 billion dollars. Paid by taxpayer money.

67 Continued 9. Adverse Impact on Water Sources. –Yucca Mountain sits above the only source of drinking water for the residents of Amargosa Valley. 10. Violates Treaties. –Yucca Mountain is located on Native American land, belonging to the Western Shoshone by the treaty of Ruby Valley. The Western Shoshone National Council has declared this land a nuclear free zone and demanded an end to nuclear testing and the dumping of nuclear wastes on their land.

68 Alternate Disposal Methods MOX fuel burning – mixing plutonium with uranium. Burns up the plutonium by nuclear fission Vitrification – borosilicate glass logs buried in deep (over 3km) boreholes Subductive Waste Disposal

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