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Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering & Science:

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous Waste Defined

Congress original statutory definition
A solid waste, which because of its
quantity or concentration physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics

may cause, or significantly contribute to

increase in mortality increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating reversible illness substantial hazard to human health and environment ...

Hazardous Waste Defined

EPAs regulatory definition
Must meet one of two criteria. It is a: 1. Listed waste (chemicals that have been explicitly identified as hazardous) 2. Caracteristic waste determined to have at least one of the following properties:
Flammability: create fires under certain conditions... Reactivity: unstable (explosions, toxic fumes, gases, or vapors) under "normal" conditions... Corrosivity: acids or bases (pH 2 or pH 12.5) that are capable of corroding metal containers Toxicity: harmful or fatal when ingested / absorbed;

Hazardous Waste Defined

EPAs regulatory definition
There is also: 3. Universal waste (widely generated)
Batteries Pesticides Mercury-containing equipment Mercury containing bulbs (lamps)

4. Mixed Waste that contains both radioactive and hazardous waste components.

Waste minimization Recycling of metals and energy content Treatment
Detoxification through industrial pre-treatment of wastewater Incineration of combustible wastes Dewater and stabilize sludge; stabilize ash

Disposal in hazardous waste landfills

Minimizing Hazardous Waste

Common sense waste reduction Reductions that depend on research and development, requiring extensive study before implementation

Stabilization fixation process that converts contaminant to a relatively insoluble form by means of binding additives Goal is not to transform & destroy wastes, but to contain & minimize release into the environment
Applied to radioactive wastes, heavy-metal wastes, ash residues, highly toxic sludges, oily sludges, contaminated soils, complex mixtures Most effective when applied to inorganic contaminants

Treatment of Hazardous Waste

Biological Treatment Many compounds are relatively difficult to degrade biologically. Chemical Treatment converts hazardous chemicals to different forms that are less troublesome to handle (complexation reactions, oxidation, reduction,
precipitation - often used for metals)

Physical Treatment often used to separate waste from aqueous solution (carbon adsorption; distillation; ion

Incineration hazardous components must be combustible to be destroyed (ash to be disposed or reused)