How we create, manage and dispose of Hazardous Waste
Hazardous waste presents immediate or long-term risks to humans, animals, plants, or the environment. It requires special handling for detoxification or safe disposal. In the U.S., hazardous waste is legally defined as any discarded solid or liquid that
- contains one or more of 39 carcinogenic, mutagenic, or teratogenic compounds at levels that exceed established limits (includingmany solvents, pesticides, and paint strippers);
- catches fire easily (such as gasoline, paints, and solvents);
- is reactive or unstable enough to explode or release toxic fumes (including acids, bases, ammonia, and chlorine bleach); or
- is capable of corroding metal containers such as tanks, drums, and barrels (such as industrial cleaning agents and oven and drain cleaners).
2 Main Ways to Manage our Hazardous Waste
A surface impoundment is an in-ground structure -- a depression in the ground that is either natural or man-made. Any surface impoundment must be lined with heavy plastic so the hazardous waste cannot leak into the ground.
Deep Well Injection
Deep Well Injection allows liquid hazardous waste to be pumped deep into geological formations underground with no chance of contaminating ground water supplies. There are currently 7 deep well injection sites in the US approved for natural gas and oil waste products.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Also called Superfund, refers to any area that needs regulating and clean up because of leaks or spills
- Love Canal
- Hinkley, CA
There are over 40,000 Superfund sites in the US
Top 10 Superfund Sites
1. What is e-waste?
2. Why is it becoming a bigger problem?
3. What are some ways to reduce e-waste (come up with on your own)?