Unit III Project


MEE 5801, Industrial and Hazardous Waste Management 1

Course Learning Outcomes for Unit I Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

2. Examine the key attributes of solid and hazardous wastes.

3. Evaluate laws, standards, and best practices related to hazardous wastes.

6. Assess the impact of industrial and hazardous waste on human populations.

Reading Assignment Chapter 1: Wastewater Treatment

Unit Lesson As you will notice, this class is designated as MEE (Masters of Environmental Engineering). As scholar- practitioners of environmental management, it is imperative that we learn to apply engineering principles to keep the environment and other people as safe as possible while operating within work systems across a wide cross-section of industry settings. This is the very basis for studying environmental engineering. Environmental managers typically observe and report incidents while implementing administrative programs to hopefully reduce the volume of incidents experienced in a given industry setting. Environmental engineers do something different. First, environmental engineers study the affected work systems to identify independent variables causally related to incidents. Second, environmental engineers use statistical data analysis to forecast future incidents. Finally, environmental engineers work to engineer out the risks from the work system. All of this is done well before introducing the environment and humans into the contemporary work system. This is the very work that we must do as scholar-practitioners of environmental management. Consequently, we must learn to think and work as environmental engineers. This unit is going to help us focus on our objectives for this entire class as we learn to study industrial and hazardous waste systems with the most effective technical design tools available to the environmental engineering field. Let’s make the mental transition from an environmental manager to an environmental engineer together as we begin! First, in an effort to appreciate the need for properly managing these wastes, it is important for us to assess the impact of industrial and hazardous waste on human populations. Hickman (2003) explained that the United States only began understanding the impact of solid, industrial, and hazardous waste on the human population after World War II (late 1950s). Before the early 1970s, the larger part of waste management seemed to have been focused on the transportation of the wastes, rather than the treatment and subsequent disposal of the wastes (Hickman, 2003). By the time we reached the early 1980s, we had just begun to recognize the relationship between the industry type standard industrial code (SIC) and the waste types (classifications) largely associated with each industry. For example, we learned that roughly 70% of the hazardous waste nationwide was generated by the chemical industry (SIC code 28), with approximately 20% belonging to the primary metals industry (SIC code 33), and the remaining 10% belonging to the additional industry types (Haas & Vamos, 1995). Still, one of the most informative realizations was that approximately 90% of the waste was being generated by approximately 10% of the waste generators among industry types. As such, one of the first classifications that is important for us to understand is the small


Industrial Hazardous Waste Attributes, Impacts, and Regulations

MEE 5801, Industrial and Hazardous Waste Management 2



quantity generator that represents the 90% of the industry generators producing approximately only 10% of the total waste (Haas & Vamos, 1995). Second, given that we understand every process is likely to have an effluent waste stream (solid, liquid, or gas), it is imperative that we as environmental engineers understand the waste aspect of a given operation. This means we must learn the fundamental science (chemistry and physics) and engineering principles involved in the operation. Interestingly, the majority of the chemistry involved in waste treatment occurs within the wastewater matrices of the industrial effluents. Bahadori (2014) carefully navigates us through this critical first lesson of wastewater chemistry within the context of a wastewater treatment plant. It is critical that you take the time to carefully follow Bahadori (2014) through this discussion as it will inform your thinking throughout the entire course. Third, it is important that we be able classify wastes by understanding and recognizing the key attributes of wastes that may be considered industrial wastes, solid wastes, or hazardous wastes. In addition to Bahadori’s (2014) characterization and classification of wastewaters, we must also begin to recognize the differences between solid wastes and hazardous wastes generated by industrial sources. This is largely achieved by using applied chemistry to delineate the differences between solid wastes and hazardous wastes. We first distinguish between inorganic wastes and organic wastes. Then, we further segregate by type: (inorganics) acid wastes, alkaline wastes, and other inorganic wastes; (organics) concentrated liquids, dilute aqueous solutions, organic solids, and organic gases/vapors. Everything else not falling in either of these categories (such as biological wastes, explosives, strong oxidizers, and strong reducers) is considered a special waste (Haas & Vamos, 1995).These chemical and physical attributes are recognized only through chemical and physical laboratory testing with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved test methods. Finally, we must consider the relevant laws, standards, and best practices related to managing these wastes. While there are local municipal and state laws governing specific aspects of waste management and disposal (often termed local limits), the EPA ultimately governs the most contemporary and best practices through several laws (e.g., Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation & Recovery Act [RCRA]). Additionally, the EPA governs with the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) (specifically 40 CFR Part 261 for RCRA hazardous waste identification and 40 CFR Part 503 for sewage sludge) (Haas & Vamos, 1995). As we progress through this class, we are going to be designing a waste management system within the context of a course project. This course project will be a proposed industrial and hazardous waste treatment facility that we will individually engineer, complete with wastewater, solid, and gas treatment and control technologies. As such, we will draw heavily upon each chapter of Bahadori’s (2014) textbook as we engineer one aspect of the facility design proposal in each unit. This may be your first opportunity to design as an environmental engineer. Take in everything that you can in this class and think like a designing environmental engineer! This is what we are called to do as scholar-practitioners of environmental management.

References Bahadori, A. (2014). Waste management in the chemical and petroleum industries. West Sussex, United

Kingdom: Wiley. Haas, C., & Vamos, R. (1995). Hazardous and industrial waste treatment. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-

Hall. Hickman, H. L. (2003). American alchemy: The history of solid waste management in the United States.

Santa Barbara, CA: Forester Press.

MEE 5801, Industrial and Hazardous Waste Management 3



Suggested Reading The suggested reading will give you additional resources related to wastewater management planning. The article can be found using the Academic Search Complete database in the CSU library. Hashemi, H., Pourzamani, H., & Samani, B. R. (2014). Comprehensive planning for classification and

disposal of solid waste at the industrial parks regarding health and environmental impacts. Journal Of Environmental & Public Health, 1-6.