Saturday, January 3, 2015

Best Practices in Hazardous Waste Disposal


Disposing of hazardous waste is one of the biggest challenges a fleet manager faces today. Yet, in many ways, governmental fleet managers are setting an example the private sector can emulate.
Eliminating Wasteful Ways
San Diego County’s approach is to "not generate waste in the first place," said John Clements, manager of fleet operations for more than 4,000 vehicles in the County. Clements and his staff have established programs focused on efficiently using recycled products when possible.
The city of Portland, Ore., has taken waste disposal another step further by simply reducing the hazardous materials its fleet management group purchases.
"We’ve done that by switching to a parts cleaner, for example, that uses nonhazardous materials," said Jeff Scholz, training and safety coordinator. "As long as we don’t get a cleaner full of benzene or chrome, it washes off as a waste, but not a hazardous waste. In many ways, we’ve been able to adhere to a more green philosophy just by making smarter, more informed decisions."
Recycling is the Way to Go
San Diego County operates eight maintenance locations throughout the county, and all county fleet facilities have been converted to water-based cleaners. Vehicles use re-refined oil as part of a closed-loop process. A vendor collects old oil and replaces it with newly refined oil when possible. Not all oils offer such an option. 
"The intent with this strategy, and with all of our fleet strategies, is to be as green and eco-friendly as possible," Clements said.
San Diego County also recycles antifreeze. Plant maintenance professionals return used antifreeze to the vendor, providing the County with recycled product. 
Recapped tires are used on all heavy-duty, county-owned trucks. Old tire casings are recycled. State law in California also dictates recycling oil filters, a process San Diego followed before the state law was enacted. 
All County facilities have shied away from solvent-based cleaning in recent years. The facilities have high-pressure washers and steam cleaners, but the waste water is filtered before entering storm drains. 
Such environmentally friendly hazardous waste strategies are possible in San Diego largely because the County’s parts department is privatized with NAPA. The parts company insists that recycled battery and part cores are used, Clements said. Through NAPA, San Diego County also recycles all scrap metal.
In all, San Diego County calls on eight vendors to help recycle parts, lubricants, and other components. Yet the process requires little extra staff effort, Clements said. 
"We just need to set up the initial contract with the purchasing department defining a specification, but it’s usually a fairly simple process," Clements said. "From there, it becomes second nature and is a best practice initiative. We know things don’t go into the dumpster. We try not to generate it in the first place and try to get in the recycled arena."

http://www.government-fleet.com/article/story/2008/11/best-practices-in-hazardous-waste-disposal.aspx

Swiss billionaire gets 18 years jail for Italian asbestos deaths


* Negligence led to more than 2,000 asbestos-linked deaths
* Activists say will set precedent in work safety cases
* Schmidheiny tried in absentia, will appeal
MILAN, June 3 (Reuters) - A billionaire Swiss industrialist
convicted for his part in Italy's biggest asbestos scandal had
his jail sentence lengthened to 18 years on Monday, in a ruling
campaigners said would set a precedent for work-safety lawsuits.





READ MORE;http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-03/news/sns-rt-italy-a

The Asbestos Scam, Part 2 Asbestos Transportation and Disposal Los Angeles

Six weeks ago, I wrote a column about a ridiculous lawsuit being brought by Carolyn McCarthy, a congresswoman from Long Island. A smoker for most of her life, McCarthy has lung cancer. Yet her lawyers claimed that it was her “exposure” to asbestos, through the work clothes of her father and brother, both boilermakers, that triggered her cancer. Though McCarthy certainly deserves our sympathy as she fights cancer, it is hard to see her lawsuit as anything but an undeserved money grab — and the latest twist in asbestos litigation, the longest running tort in American history, with no end in sight.
Then again, maybe there is finally an end in sight. Late Friday afternoon, Judge George Hodges, a federal bankruptcy judge in North Carolina, wrote a breathtaking decision, in which he essentially pulled the lid off another form of asbestos scam. Though he shrank from labeling the actions of the plaintiffs’ lawyers involved in asbestos litigation as “fraudulent,” he did describe the litigation as “infected with the impropriety of some law firms.” ........read more;http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/14/opinion/nocera-the-asbestos-scam-part-2.html?_r=0

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Biological Waste Management and Disposal Los Angeles California

Segregation and Handling

Infectious, Potentially Infectious, or R-DNA Biological Waste

Waste items that are, contain, or are contaminated with:

  • human, animal, or plant pathogens
  • recombinant nucleic acids (e.g. rDNA)
  • human / primate blood, blood products, tissues, cultures, cells, or other potentially infectious material (OPIM)
  • cultures

This waste must be inactivated (e.g. autoclaved or bleach treated) before it leaves the facility.

Non-inactivated waste must be stored in the generating laboratory – do not leave unattended.
Waste biohazardous for humans must be labeled with the biohazard symbol.
Infectious waste must be kept covered and must be inactivated within 24 hrs.

Non-infectious Biological Waste

Waste items that are:

Used labware (tissue culture dishes and flasks, petri dishes, centrifuge tubes, test tubes, pipettes, vials, etc) from clinical or biomedical labs that is NOT contaminated with any of the biological wastes listed in Infectious, Potentially Infectious or R-DNA Biological Waste category above.
Gloves or other disposable personal protective equipment from clinical or biomedical labs that are NOT contaminated with any of the biological wastes listed in Infectious, Potentially Infectious or R-DNA Biological Waste category above.
Unused medical devices.
Blood, blood products, tissues, or items contaminated with these, from animals not known to, or expected to, contain pathogens.

This waste does not require inactivation before it leaves the facility.

Place this waste in the red bag-lined cardboard biological waste box for disposal.

Sharps Waste

Waste instruments that are intended to cut or penetrate skin:

  • metal lancets, scalpel blades, needles, or syringe/needle combinations

These must be placed in red, hard plastic sharps boxes, even if unused..read more

http://www.ehs.ufl.edu/programs/bio/waste/  

www.eWastedisposal.net 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Floating Toilets That Clean Themselves Grow On A Lake

A pod to pick up your poo: The Handy Pod features floating hyacinth plants placed underneath a houseboat's latrine. The blue tarp offers privacy.
A pod to pick up your poo: The Handy Pod features floating hyacinth plants placed underneath a houseboat's latrine. The blue tarp offers privacy.
Courtesy Taber Hand
Imagine you live on a floating lake house. Open air. Chirping crickets. Clear, starry nights. Everything seems great until you need to use the bathroom.
The natural instinct might be to make a deposit in the water. But that wouldn't be safe. Microbes in your feces would contaminate the water and could cause outbreaks of deadly diseases, like cholera.
A group of engineers in Cambodia wants to solve that problem for the floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Over a million people live on or around it. Exposure to wastewater spawns diarrhea outbreaks each year. In Cambodia, diarrheal diseases cause 1 in 5 deaths of children under age 5.
To help clean the lake's water, engineers at the company Wetlands Work! in Phnom Penh are developing plant-based purifiers, called Handy Pods. The pods are essentially little kayaks filled with plants. They float under the latrine of a river house and decontaminate the water that flows out.
During the dry season, human waste makes the water putrid along the floating village of Prek Toal on Tonle Sap Lake.
During the dry season, human waste makes the water putrid along the floating village of Prek Toal on Tonle Sap Lake.
Courtesy of Taber Hand
Here's how it works. When a person uses the latrine, the wastewater flows into an expandable bag, called a digester. A microbial soup of bacteria and fungi inside the digester breaks down the organic sludge into gases, such as carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen.
Some microbes in the waste survive that first step, but then they're washed into a pod filled with water hyacinth. The hyacinth roots have a large surface area to which the remaining bacteria stick. The water that runs off the roots into the lake is clean enough to play and swim in, Wetlands Work! founder Taber Hand says. But the water is still not safe enough to drink.
During a pilot project in 2013, Hand and his team gave pods to 35 houses in a village on Tonle Sap Lake. "The pods reduced E. coli in the ambient water by 50 percent," Hand says.
That wasn't as good as the pods' performance in lab tests, where they cut levels of E. coli by more than 99 percent. Hand thinks that's because real lakes have other sources of contamination besides latrines.
At the top of that list? Pigs. Pigsties around Tonle Sap Lake produce a tremendous amount of waste, Hand says.
"The floating communities of Tonle Sap Lake are one of the most challenging contexts for sanitation in the world," says environmental engineer Joe Brown of Georgia Tech, who isn't involved with the project. "Handy Pods are potentially a useful way for processing human excrement in this context."
But the floating toilets still have a ways to go before they are widely distributed.
For starters, Brown says, it's unknown whether the pods filter out viruses and parasites that cause diseases. Manmade wetlands remove these pathogens, he says, so there's a possibility the hyacinth roots could also do it.
Another roadblock may be cost. Each Handy Pod costs about $30. Most villagers on the lake make less than $1,000 each year.
Hand thinks solving the pig problem is crucial to the overall success of the pods. Grand Challenges Canada recently gave Wetlands Work! a $100,000 grant to adapt Handy Pods for pigsties. The company will also use the money to distribute the pods to 10 more villages.
Hand isn't stopping there. His ultimate goal? "Total world domination of floating village sanitation," he jokes.
But he does hope that, one day, the pods could be used for overcrowded floating communities in places like BangladeshIndia and Nigeria.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us


Lax oversight, uncertain science plague program under which industries dump trillions of gallons of waste underground

A class 2 brine disposal well in western Louisiana near the Texas border. The well sat by the side of the road, without restricted access. (Abrahm Lustgarten/ProPublica)

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation's geology as an invisible dumping ground.
No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.
There are growing signs they were mistaken. 

Records from disparate corners of the United States show that wells drilled to bury this waste deep beneath the ground have repeatedly leaked, sending dangerous chemicals and waste gurgling to the surface or, on occasion, seeping into shallow aquifers that store a significant portion of the nation's drinking water.
In 2010, contaminants from such a well bubbled up in a west Los Angeles dog park. Within the past three years, similar fountains of oil and gas drilling waste have appeared in Oklahoma and Louisiana. In South Florida, 20 of the nation's most stringently regulated disposal wells failed in the early 1990s, releasing partly treated sewage into aquifers that may one day be needed to supply Miami's drinking water.
There are more than 680,000 underground waste and injection wells nationwide, more than 150,000 of which shoot industrial fluids thousands of feet below the surface. Scientists and federal regulators acknowledge they do not know how many of the sites are leaking.
Federal officials and many geologists insist that the risks posed by all this dumping are minimal. Accidents are uncommon, they say, and groundwater reserves — from which most Americans get their drinking water — remain safe and far exceed any plausible threat posed by injecting toxic chemicals into the ground.
But in interviews, several key experts acknowledged that the idea that injection is safe rests on science that has not kept pace with reality, and on oversight that doesn't always work.
"In 10 to 100 years we are going to find out that most of our groundwater is polluted," said Mario Salazar, an engineer who worked for 25 years as a technical expert with the EPA's underground injection program in Washington. "A lot of people are going to get sick, and a lot of people may die."
The boom in oil and natural gas drilling is deepening the uncertainties, geologists acknowledge. Drilling produces copious amounts of waste, burdening regulators and demanding hundreds of additional disposal wells. Those wells — more holes punched in the ground — are changing the earth's geology, adding man-made fractures that allow water and waste to flow more freely.
"There is no certainty at all in any of this, and whoever tells you the opposite is not telling you the truth," said Stefan Finsterle, a leading hydrogeologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who specializes in understanding the properties of rock layers and modeling how fluid flows through them. "You have changed the system with pressure and temperature and fracturing, so you don't know how it will behave."
A ProPublica review of well records, case histories and government summaries of more than 220,000 well inspections found that structural failures inside injection wells are routine. From late 2007 to late 2010, one well integrity violation was issued for every six deep injection wells examined — more than 17,000 violations nationally. More than 7,000 wells showed signs that their walls were leaking. Records also show wells are frequently operated in violation of safety regulations and under conditions that greatly increase the risk of fluid leakage and the threat of water contamination.
Structurally, a disposal well is the same as an oil or gas well. Tubes of concrete and steel extend anywhere from a few hundred feet to two miles into the earth. At the bottom, the well opens into a natural rock formation. There is no container. Waste simply seeps out, filling tiny spaces left between the grains in the rock like the gaps between stacked marbles.
Many scientists and regulators say the alternatives to the injection process — burning waste, treating wastewater, recycling, or disposing of waste on the surface — are far more expensive or bring additional environmental risks.
Subterranean waste disposal, they point out, is a cornerstone of the nation's economy, relied on by the pharmaceutical, agricultural and chemical industries. It's also critical to a future less dependent on foreign oil: Hydraulic fracturing, "clean coal" technologies, nuclear fuel production and carbon storage (the keystone of the strategy to address climate change) all count on pushing waste into rock formations below the earth's surface.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has primary regulatory authority over the nation's injection wells, would not discuss specific well failures identified by ProPublica or make staffers available for interviews. The agency also declined to answer many questions in writing, though it sent responses to several. Its director for the Drinking Water Protection Division, Ann Codrington, sent a statement to ProPublica defending the injection program's effectiveness.
"Underground injection has been and continues to be a viable technique for subsurface storage and disposal of fluids when properly done," the statement said. "EPA recognizes that more can be done to enhance drinking water safeguards and, along with states and tribes, will work to improve the efficiency of the underground injection control program."
Still, some experts see the well failures and leaks discovered so far as signs of broader problems, raising concerns about how much pollution may be leaking out undetected. By the time the damage is discovered, they say, it could be irreversible.
"Are we heading down a path we might regret in the future?" said Anthony Ingraffea, a Cornell University engineering professor who has been an outspoken critic of claims that wells don't leak. "Yes."
***
In September 2003, Ed Cowley got a call to check out a pool of briny water in a bucolic farm field outside Chico, Texas. Nearby, he said, a stand of trees had begun to wither, their leaves turning crispy brown and falling to the ground.
Chico, a town of about 1,000 people 50 miles northwest of Fort Worth, lies in the heart of Texas' Barnett Shale. Gas wells dot the landscape like mailboxes in suburbia. A short distance away from the murky pond, an oil services company had begun pumping millions of gallons of drilling waste into an injection well.
Regulators refer to such waste as salt water or brine, but it often includes less benign contaminants, including fracking chemicals, benzene and other substances known to cause cancer.
The well had been authorized by the Railroad Commission of Texas, which once regulated railways but now oversees 260,000 oil and gas wells and 52,000 injection wells. (Another agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, regulates injection wells for waste from other industries.)
Before issuing the permit, commission officials studied mathematical models showing that waste could be safely injected into a sandstone layer about one-third of a mile beneath the farm. They specified how much waste could go into the well, under how much pressure, and calculated how far it would dissipate underground. As federal law requires, they also reviewed a quarter-mile radius around the site to make sure waste would not seep back toward the surface through abandoned wells or other holes in the area.
Yet the precautions failed. "Salt water" brine migrated from the injection site and shot back to the surface through three old well holes nearby.
"Have you ever seen an artesian well?" recalled Cowley, Chico's director of public works. "It was just water flowing up out of the ground."
Despite residents' fears that the injected waste could be making its way toward their drinking water, commission officials did not sample soil or water near the leak.
If the injection well waste "had threatened harm to the ground water in the area, an in-depth RRC investigation would have been initiated," Ramona Nye, a spokeswoman for Texas' Railroad Commission, wrote in an email.
The agency disputes Cowley's description of a pool of brine or of dead trees, saying that the waste barely spilled beyond the overflowing wells, though officials could not identify any documents or staffers who contradicted Cowley's recollections. Accounts similar to Cowley's appeared in an article about the leak in the Wise County Messenger, a local newspaper. The agency has destroyed its records about the incident, saying it is required to keep them for only two years.
After the breach, the commission ordered two of the old wells to be plugged with cement and restricted the rate at which waste could be injected into the well. It did not issue any violations against the disposal company, which had followed Texas' rules, regulators said. The commission allowed the well operator to continue injecting thousands of barrels of brine into the well each day. A few months later, brine began spurting out of three more old wells nearby...READ MORE...http://www.propublica.org/article/injection-wells-the-poison-beneath-us

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles

http://www.ewastedisposal.net