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Disposal of Non-hazardous, Hazardous and Nuclear Waste.

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Presentation on theme: "Disposal of Non-hazardous, Hazardous and Nuclear Waste."— Presentation transcript:

1 Disposal of Non-hazardous, Hazardous and Nuclear Waste

2 1965 Solid Waste Disposal Act –Attempt by Congress to encourage better disposal of solid waste through grants to the states. 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act RCRA –Designed to primarily manage hazardous waste management, though solid waste is addressed as well. –Amended several times since 1976, most significantly in 1984. 1984 Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments HSWA –Significantly expanded the scope and requirements of RCRA

3 RCRA Goals Protect human health and the environment from the potential hazards of waste disposal Conserve energy and natural resources Reduce the amount of waste generated Ensure that wastes are managed in an environmentally sound manner

4 RCRA Programs Solid waste management Hazardous waste management Underground tank management Medical waste

5 RCRA Responsibilities For Hazardous Waste The generator is responsible for the material from cradle to grave Tracked using a uniform hazardous waste manifest Monitored by the EPA using generator ID numbers and permits Restricted from land disposal (under HSWA)

6 Hazardous Waste A subset of solid waste Often generated by industrial processes Possess one or more of these characteristics –Ignightability –Corrosivity –Reactivity –Toxicity Or may be on a Source-Specific List

7 Cradle to Grave EPA regulations address –Generation –Transportation –Treatment –Storage –Disposal

8 TSD facilities Treatment Storage Disposal

9 Hazardous Waste Generators Hazardous waste generation is divided into separate categories –Large quantity generators >2,200 lbs/month –Small quantity generators <2,200 lbs/month –Can only hold waste for 90 days Need permit to generate hazardous waste Transporters, permit required TSD facilities, permit required If generate <220 lbs/month then no permit required

10 Hazardous Waste Manifests To track waste, EPA requires generators to prepare a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest Manifests must accompany waste where ever it travels This form, and its multiple copies, ties generator, all transporters, storage facilities, and disposal facilities with the waste Each individual handler must sign and mail copies of the manifest to EPA or authorized state authority

11 The Solid Waste Problem Our per capita waste generation is over double that of any other country Current methods of managing and disposing are not expected to be adequate for anticipated future volumes Primary methods are landfilling, recycling and incineration

12 Solid Waste Problem cont. We have a throw-away economy. Things are built to become obsolete Packaging amounts to half of all household waste We generate about 4-5 pounds of solid waste a day

13 Incineration Possible alternative to landfills What are some advantages and disadvantages?



16 Solid Waste Problem cont. Largest generators are industry, mining and agriculture Although agricultural and mine waste are usually disposed of on site, the is a potential for pollution of groundwater and surface runoff

17 NIMBY Implications It is difficult to find sites for new landfills, materials recovery facilities and recycling centers There is a trend toward fewer and bigger landfills All are heavily regulated

18 NIMBY Implications cont. Moving to rail based regional landfills –Examples Seneca Meadows for NYC –Utah for Los Angeles – WastebyRailProgram.htm Largest landfill is in LA County, Puente Hills landfill in the San Gabriel valley

19 Seneca Meadows Landfill, Waterloo NY

20 Puente Hills Landfill, LA County

21 Medical Waste Any solid material generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in related research, biologicals production, or testing

22 Radioactive Materials and Waste Nuclear energy and medical facilities are the largest users of radioactive materials Practically every industry uses radioisotopes in some form EPA and DOE are involved in regulation Atomic Energy Act regulates the management and disposal of radioactive materials Exposure increases the risk of cancer and genetic defects

23 Radioactive Waste High level waste – high radioactivity, long half-life, low volume Low level waste – low radioactivity, short half-life, high volume Transuranic waste – low radioactivity, long half-life, low volume

24 High Level Radioactive Waste Plutonium and uranium from energy plants, defense industry, and defense department Requires heavy shielding and long term isolation DOE is in the process of constructing a long term depository at Yucca Mountain DOD is in the process of constructing a long term depository (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico The 70 nuclear power plants in the US had generated 20,000 metric tons of spent fuel by 1990 Currently being stored at generation sites

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