Environmental issues are often neglected until a lapse in the care for environment, which leads to serious human health problem, would then put regulation gaps in the spotlight. Environmental regulations and standards are important as they maintain balance among competing resources and help protect human health and the environment. One important environmental standard is related to municipal solid waste (MSW). Proper MSW management is crucial for urban public health. Meanwhile, the sustainability of landfills is also of concern as increasing volumes of MSW consume finite landfill space. The incineration of MSW and the reuse of incinerated residues help alleviate the burden on landfill space. However, the reuse of MSW incinerator residues must be regulated because they may expose the environment to toxic heavy metal elements. The study of environmental standards from different countries applicable to MSW is not widely published, much less those for incinerated MSW residue reuse. This paper compares extant waste classification and reuse standards pertinent to MSW, and explores the unique recent history and policy evolution in some countries exhibiting high environmental regard and rapid changes, so that policy makers can propose new or revise current MSW standards in other countries.
This course provides an outlook of the international and domestic laws and regulations applicable to transboundary movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials across North America.
Can law change human behavior to be less environmentally damaging? Law will be examined through case histories including: environmental effects of national security, pesticides, air pollution, consumer products, plastics, parks and protected area management, land use, urban growth and sprawl, public/private transit, drinking water standards, food safety, and hazardous site restoration in this free online class. In each case we will review the structure of law and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.
This publication presents an overview of global and regional environmental issues and policy decisions during 2010.
The Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) supports the use of deep geologic repositories for the safe storage and/or disposal of radioactive waste. The Act establishes procedures to evaluate and select sites for geologic repositories and for the interaction of state and federal governments. It also provides a timetable of key milestones the federal agencies must meet in carrying out the program.
The NWPA assigns the Department of Energy (DOE) the responsibility to site, build, and operate a deep geologic repository for the disposal of high-level waste and spent nuclear fuel. It directs EPA to develop standards for protection of the general environment from offsite releases of radioactive material in repositories. The Act directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to license DOE to operate a repository only if it meets EPA’s standards and all other relevant requirements.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act — otherwise known as CERCLA or Superfund — provides a Federal “Superfund” to clean up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous-waste sites as well as accidents, spills, and other emergency releases of pollutants and contaminants into the environment. Through CERCLA, EPA was given power to seek out those parties responsible for any release and assure their cooperation in the cleanup.
EPA cleans up orphan sites when potentially responsible parties cannot be identified or located, or when they fail to act. Through various enforcement tools, EPA obtains private party cleanup through orders, consent decrees, and other small party settlements. EPA also recovers costs from financially viable individuals and companies once a response action has been completed.
EPA is authorized to implement the Act in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Superfund site identification, monitoring, and response activities in states are coordinated through the state environmental protection or waste management agencies.
The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 reauthorized CERCLA to continue cleanup activities around the country. Several site-specific amendments, definitions clarifications, and technical requirements were added to the legislation, including additional enforcement authorities. Also, Title III of SARA authorized the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).
Understanding the processes controlling subsurface
transport is a key element in the demonstration of safe disposal of radioactive and/or hazardous wastes, as well as the design and implementation of effective
contaminant remediation. Subsurface transport is complex, controlled by the interplay among heterogeneous geologic environments, ground-water
flow, and physical/chemical interactions of dissolved and/or immiscible phase contaminants. Limited access to directly observe and sample the subsurface further
compounds this complexity. Transport processes control contaminant migration, as well as contaminant
retardation and isolation. Field-scale tracer testing is a
highly effective technology for determining controlling transport processes, as well as important transport parameter values for use in predictive models for regulatory compliance demonstration and remediation design.
Conducts research and technical assistance to provide the scientific basis to support the development of strategies and technologies to protect and restore ground water, surface water, and ecosystems impacted by man-made and natural processes.
There are a number of ways to treat a contaminated site. Each site is treated based on the individual characteristics, priority, and the cost to treat the site. Treatment methods discussed in the course are bioremediation, incineration, and numerous physical/ chemical treatment methods. Listed below are links to treatment technologies and examples of their use at hazardous waste sites.
Hazardous waste must be handled carefully. A number of agencies are responsible for the control of hazardous waste. The primary agency governing hazardous waste management is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).