Some case histories and the regulatory framework
dealing with waste disposal, clean up, and tracking.
- Love Canal, western New York:
- In the 1940s 21,000 tons of chemicals disposed
of in old canal, by Hooker Electrochemical Company.
- 1953 - some of the land sold to a local school
board for $1.
- 1980 - the site declared a national state
- more than 1000 families forced to leave their
- health effects continue to be studied.
- clean up consists of some removal, but largely
putting in place an impermeable cap, and heavy monitoring.
- clean-up cost estimated at $275 million dollars
- EPA summary of Love Canal.
- State University of New York at Buffalo collection
on material on Love Canal. Some good
air photos at this site.
- Rocky Mountain Arsenal,
N of Denver, Colorado.
- The Colorado Internet Center for Environmental Problem
Solving info on RMA.
- Times Beach, Missouri.
- Are there any superfund sites in Nebraska?
- Forensic environmental geology.
- Overall problem:
- federal government estimate >400,000 problem
waste sites? How did they come up with this number.
- 35,000 sites in the Superfund inventory.
- National Priorities List > 1200 sites.
- 75% goes to legal fees!
Legal and regulatory
framework. This framework is extensive
and complex, to the point that some people make a living just
at helping industry stay in compliance. Below are just a few of
the highlights, major pieces of legislation.
- Water Pollution Control Acts (1956, 65, 72).
- National Environmental Policy Act (1969):
often known as NEPA, requires EIS, environmental impact
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation
and Liability Act (1980): also known as CERCLA or Superfund,
National Priority List
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (1988):
known as RCRA, for better record keeping, permitting and
- Recently Superfund has been defunded.
- Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. This is our lead agency for environmental issues
in Nebraska. Each state has an equivalent agency.
What are some
clean up methods? Have made tremendous
progress in last two decades in this technology.
- slurry walls and pump and treat (e.g., Rocky
- porous reaction walls (Fe filings).
- specific treatments = air stripping, bioremediation,
activated carbon filters, chemical neutralization.
proving very powerful.
- soil farming.
- differs for types of contaminants.
- cost per site? At Rocky Mountain the cost
is > $30 million.
- evolution of cost with time.
In class exercise: The objective is to explore siting considerations
for a new sanitary landfill for the city of Elkhorn, Nebraska.
For purposes of this exercise, we are narrowing the area of consideration
to that depicted on the maps and air photo being handed out. You
will work in groups. You should write out your answers. Make sure
every bodies name who contributed is on the work you hand in.
- Familiarize yourself with the material you've
been given. There is more information than you need on the maps.
For each of the maps describe what information is useful for
siting considerations and why it is useful.
- In addition to the maps you were given, list
what other type of maps would be useful in your deliberations
(both from a physical environment and human perspective).
- Considering the size of Elkhorn, and the
sizes of the Douglas and Sarpy County landfills, what will
be the size (the footprint) in units of square miles of this
- Using the copy of the USGS topographic map
and a colored pencil, shade in, in some manner, the areas
that are not acceptable sites due to a geologic substrate
that is to porous and permeable.
- Do the same, but with a different color,
for the areas where erosion might be a problem.
- For the houses, shade in a buffer zone
of about .5 mile diameter.
- Given the above information, choose what
you think would be the best site, given the time and information
you have available, and locate your landfill on the map with
a roughly appropriate size footprint.
- You have in your budget money for four monitoring
wells. Mark with x's where you would put them.
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