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Hazardous Waste Clean Up Efforts In California

1402 words - 6 pages

California, like the other 49 states, is continually confronted with hazardous waste management. Disposing of corrosive, poisonous, flammable, combustible, ignitable and explosive material is a realm that merits serious attention. California's efforts, thus far have ranged from acid mine drainage to door-to-door collection programs to DDT remediation to passing environmental protection laws for Indians. Treating hazardous waste is a daunting task, but it will continue to gain attention from administrators and community-dwellers because of factors such as its potential to harm humans and animals, to pollute groundwater and to decrease the overall quality of life.Hazardous waste is not only dangerous, but it requires management that is not always apparent upon first evaluation. Often, detailed programs and plans are required. The City of Redlands, California, began their effort by establishing what is called the "Hazardous Waste Collection," a program whose goal is to provide for proper disposition of hazardous materials that might otherwise end up in landfills or wastewater treatment facilities. They made it their goal to dispose of excess materials such as diesel fuel, pool acids, paint solvents, aerosols, brake fluids, dry cleaning fluids, automotive oil and disinfectants. Included in this is a program to provide training and equipment to operate an Emergency Hazardous Material Response Team, should a leak or spill release hazardous materials into the city of Redlands.In addition to the disposal of hazardous materials, pesticide use has become an ever-increasing problem. In an effort to decrease the amount of pesticides used, the California Department of Health Services in 1990 developed a reduction for pesticide formulation. By reducing the amount of hazardous wastes generated in the plants, this then reduces disposal costs, costs of future liabilities, offsite treatment costs and worker safety costs. In addition, the Department offered guidelines to begin a waste reduction plan. They state that 1) the plant owner must be committed to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste generated. 2) Training programs must be established for waste reduction, hazardous material handling, and emergency response, and 3) incentive programs must be established to encourage the design and use of new waste reduction ideas.Household hazardous wastes are only one small ingredient in the remediation problem. California has several Superfund sites that pose problems for the government and for people who live in the area. No one wants a Superfund site in their backyard. One such site is called the Iron Mountain Superfund site in California. The Richmond mine of the Iron Mountain copper deposit, unfortunately, contains some of the most acid mine waters ever reported. Remediation of the site would include reducing metal loads in to the downstream drainages and the Sacramento River, by capturing the major acidic discharges and directing them to a lime neutralization...

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