Archive | Waste Disposal

Texas Commission OKs Nuclear Waste Dump Policy

A Texas commission has approved a plan that will allow 36 states to dump low-level radioactive waste along the Texas-New Mexico border.

Despite concerns raised by environmentalists regarding the possibility of groundwater pollution, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Commission voted 5-2 to pass the measure, which will permit a number of additional states to export nuclear waste to an Andrews County dump owned by Waste Control Specialists. The site previously only accepted waste from Texas, Vermont and the federal government.

The commission also guaranteed Vermont preferred space of 20 percent capacity. Vermont has only one nuclear facility, which it plans to phase out in the next 30 or 40 years.

President Barack Obama has extolled nuclear energy as a clean alternative to oil, but opponents object to the radioactive waste associated with the process.

The proposal drew more than 5,000 public comments, The Associated Press reported.

Posted in Nuclear, Pollution & Toxins, Radiation, Toxic Substances, Waste Disposal0 Comments

Micro-plane Can Do Autonomous Surveys

PARIS, Sept. 1 (UPI) — An inexpensive unmanned aircraft system developed with the European Space Agency can provide quick monitoring of land areas or disaster zones, researchers say.

German company MAVinci has developed sat-nav guided autonomous micro-air vehicles with a wingspan of less than 7 feet, an ESA release said Wednesday.

“At the moment, the remote-sensing market uses mainly manned aeroplanes,” Johanna Born, CEO of MAVinci, says, “but they are expensive and not always available.”

“Our MAVs are cost-efficient, available at short notice and easy to use for surveillance of development areas, construction sites, disaster zones and waste disposal sites, just to mention a few,” Born said.

An autopilot controls the small aircraft from takeoff to landing and uses sat-nav to follow a planned track, triggering a camera to image the target area.

The MAV has already been used to help fight soil erosion in Spain, surveying erosion canyons in Andalusia to improve understanding of erosion dynamics to aid local farmers, the ESA said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Other, Soil Erosion, Waste Disposal0 Comments

N.Y. Nuclear Risk Assessment Described

WEST VALLEY, N.Y., Aug. 12 (UPI) — U.S. researchers have announced an improved method of predicting where people might be exposed to radiation from nuclear waste disposal sites.

Engineering and scientific experts associated with U.S. and New York state energy agencies focused on a buried nuclear waste disposal facility at West Valley, N.Y., a Society for Risk Analysis release said Wednesday.

Researchers say their study looked at possible scenarios, likelihoods and consequences of a threat to the disposal site and concluded “a release resulting in a dose of 100 millirems in one year, or more, is extremely unlikely during the next 30 years of operation of the state managed disposal area at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center.”

By comparison, the study said, the public is exposed to approximately 300 millirems a year of cosmic radiation in the atmosphere with no visible health effects.

Possible scenarios were considered involving hypothetical releases of radionuclides by liquid, solid or air pathways.

The scientific analysis supports a decision to continue management of waste at the site for another decade, the researchers said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Engineering, Other, Radiation, Waste Disposal0 Comments

Toxic Groundwater Organisms Studied

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 31 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they are studying micro-organisms in toxic groundwater to find biological methods of dealing with such contaminants.

The research by a collaboration of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Joint Genome Institute and the University of Oklahoma, involved a “stressed” microbial community near a former waste disposal pond on the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee.

The study revealed microbes with an overabundance of genes involved in DNA recombination and repair and other defense mechanisms for dealing with contaminants and other environmental stresses.

The studies, said ORNL researcher David Watson, are aimed at developing ways of reducing the level of contaminants in groundwater, which at the site includes nitrates, solvents and heavy metals, including uranium.

“We are looking to better understand the evolution of microbes in the groundwater plume,” Watson said. “The microbes that can break down nitrate into nitrogen can have a long-term benefit toward attenuating the plume.”

Watson says researchers particularly want to better understand the genetic makeup of microbes that can metabolize oxidized forms of uranium into a form that is only slightly soluble and thus easier to precipitate and remove from the environment.

The study that also included Montana and Michigan State Universities and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was recently published in the on-line edition of the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Other, Waste Disposal0 Comments

European Union Has Growing Trash Problem

BRUSSELS, Feb. 3 (UPI) — The European Union needs a separate agency devoted to the problem of waste removal in member nations, an official of the European Commission says.

A new report prepared for the commission found as much as a fifth of waste shipments inspected in the bloc are illegal, the EUobserver reported Wednesday.

The EU study said the scale of the problem has grown in recent years with hazardous waste often being sent to developing countries.

“We must look at all the options, including setting up an EU agency or body which would enable EU legislation to deliver the maximum benefits for citizens, the environment and the EU economy,” said Stavros Dimas, environment commissioner.

Dimas said the new agency could review enforcement systems in member states as well as coordinate controls and inspection activities.

Estimates are the new agency would cost about $22 million annually.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Hazardous Waste, Waste Disposal0 Comments

Storms Dump 170 Million Gallons of Sewage into San Francisco Bay

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 31 (UPI) — The recent series of California storms dumped about 170 million gallons of partially processed sewage into the San Francisco Bay, an environmental group says.

The San Francisco Baykeeper group says this was in addition to 630,000 gallons of raw sewage the storms dumped into the bay in 47 locations, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.

The “under-treated” 170 million gallons of sewage was discharged from three East Bay Municipal Utility District overflow plants on the bay’s east side, the newspaper reported.

Those “wet weather” plants process overflow during storms, but the facilities can get overwhelmed during big storms like the recent ones, and what goes into the bay can be raw sewage from toilets, kitchen sinks, creeks, cracked sewer lines or overflowing manhole covers.

Although mixed with rainwater, the partially treated sewage from the “wet weather” plants still contains pesticides and metals such as mercury, which can sicken people, fish and birds, the Chronicle said.

Baykeeper points to outdated infrastructure, in which pipes and processing plants leak, break or simply can’t handle the load. The group wants the city to assess its processing systems and figure out how to fix them.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Birds, Fish, Waste Disposal, Waste Management, Wastewater & Runoff, Water Pollution0 Comments

Radioactive Waste Including 5,408 Drums of Uranium Headed for Utah Landfill

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 22 (UPI) — Utah state officials say they are ready to supervise the movement of low-level radioactive waste received from South Carolina into a specialized landfill.

The 5,408 drums of depleted uranium from the federal government’s Savannah River cleanup site in South Carolina arrived by train Sunday and were to be offloaded Tuesday about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City under the supervision of state inspectors, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The waste will be kept at the landfill temporarily so Utah regulators can finish updating disposal requirements needed to permanently bury the waste. The aim, the newspaper said, is to ensure Utah does not get stuck with radioactive waste that cannot be effectively contained at the permanent disposal site run by EnergySolutions Inc.

Dane Finerfrock, director of the Utah Division of Radiation Control, told the Tribune his staff arrived Monday to look over the shipping papers and check the manifests against the content of a sampling of drums.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Consumer Waste, Hazardous Waste, Landfills, Nuclear, Radiation, Recycling & Waste, Waste Disposal0 Comments

Informant: Mafia Sank Radioactive Ship to Bypass Environmental Laws

ROME, Sept. 16 (UPI) — An Italian government informant says a shipwreck holding toxic waste was deliberately sunk by the Calabrian mafia as a way to bypass environmental laws.

The informant has claimed he sank the vessel, found 18 miles off Italy’s southwest coast, and that it contains radioactive material, the BBC reported Wednesday. The informant reportedly said it is one of several ships he blew for by the mafia as part of a lucrative illegal radioactive waste disposal operation designed to bypass regulations.

The BBC said authorities are examining samples from the shipwreck to determine the presence of nuclear materials.

Meanwhile, the episode has triggered calls from Italy’s political opposition for the government to release more information about it, the Italian news agency ANSA reported, as members of parliament for the center-left Democratic Party and the small Italy of Values party Wednesday urged Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government to offer a report on the shipwreck.

“The problem of ships loaded with radioactive waste or dangerous boats sunk deliberately is an Italian mystery that should have been resolved years ago,” lawmaker Ermete Realacci, a leading environmentalist, said a written request.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Nuclear, Other, Pollution & Toxins, Waste Disposal0 Comments

How To Shop For Green Cleaning Supplies

The push to go green becomes more evident as it begins to take residence on our retail shelves and becomes more and more affordable. Many people are jumping on the bang wagon by using green products in hopes of curbing their toxic emissions, waste disposal, and carbon footprint, which will result in a much healthier environment.

The problem is shopping for eco friendly products that are truly green products and not just conventional retail items with misleading rhetoric or advertising.

These are a few things you can do to ensure your purchase is a green one:

  • Avoid cleaners that contain toxins and corrosives
  • Choose products that have minimal or biodegradable packaging
  • Be sure to check all ingredients listed on the packaging
  • Steer clear of products that contain artificial or synthetic components

Using green products is important and knowing how to purchase them is equally important. These are just a few simple things that will help you become a greener consumer.

Find more information about becoming a greener consumer here.

Posted in Consumer Products, Packaging, People, Retail, Waste Disposal0 Comments

Grass Roots Recycling: Minimal Effort, Major Impact

Recycling and proper waste disposal are paramount in a cleaner, safer environment. It effects everyone daily no matter what walk of life they are or where they may live at. Not enough people in our world currently participate in recycling their own waste, which takes little effort and yields an immense impact on our environment.

New York is a city that can make a global statement if everyone participated in recycling. The problem the city faces is education in recycling and methods of disposing waste properly.

In New York, the incentive may be greatest of all. Only 17 percent of the city’s household waste makes it into recycling bins, and New York has the largest public housing system in the country, with 2,600 buildings, 174,000 apartments and more than 400,000 residents in five boroughs.

To help curb this problem many recycling activist are starting grass roots movements to help combat the city wide problem of recycling waste. Gloria Allen has done just this by forming informational seminars in public housing buildings to help educated it’s occupants on the minimal effort needed to make a major impact on the city’s waste.

For more information on city wide recycling and New York based grass roots movements please read the full article.

Posted in Buildings, Education, Effects Of Air Pollution, People, Recycling, Recycling & Waste, Waste Disposal0 Comments

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