Monday, July 11, 2016

Where Does Hazardous Waste Go?

hazardous waste sign
When you have dead batteries or burnt out light bulbs, you may question why it’s recommended to throw them away separately from the rest of your trash. The next question you may ask yourself is “where does hazardous waste go?” There are a number of ways to dispose of hazardous waste products, some of which are more dangerous than others. As for you, it is best to dispose of your hazardous waste at a local waste disposal facility. And if you own a business that handles hazardous waste on a regular basis, it is a good idea to purchase a hazardous waste compactor.


Hazardous waste can be disposed of through incineration, stabilization, neutralization, or a secure landfill generally underground. They reason hazardous waste needs to be treated differently than regular garbage is because of the potentially dangerous impact it can have on the environment. Without careful disposal, hazardous waste can quickly pollute the air, soil, and water, which will eventually take a toll on your health.

Incineration

Incineration is often used for hazardous waste disposal, but has the potential to be dangerous because of the airborne release. The incineration process involves the burning of solid or liquid waste in specific incinerators until they are completely destroyed.

Stabilization

Stabilization is sometimes used for the disposal of hazardous waste, but it also comes with some concerns. Stabilization involves the addition of cement or a cement-like mixture to limit the movement and solubility of the contaminated materials. This process can be dangerous because of the potential environmental elements eroding the hazardous materials.

Neutralization

The neutralization process involves changing the chemical makeup and pH level of the hazardous waste in order to dispose of the material as non-hazardous. This process can be dangerous due to some of the liquids being released in to the environment.

Underground Landfill

Unfortunately, scientists struggle to find a completely safe and sustainable solution to the disposal of hazardous waste. The current suggested solution is to bury the hazardous waste in underground or salt mines. This is often done with nuclear waste, which is the most dangerous hazardous waste.

Nuclear Waste Storage

Nuclear waste is the downfall for providing relatively safe and efficient fuel that comes from nuclear fuel. If not disposed of properly, it can have devastating consequences to the surrounding environment. Nuclear waste is stored at nuclear waste storage facilities such as the Waste IsolationPilot Plant in New Mexico (WIP). According to the department of energy, the U.S. has 75,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel, stored at 122 temporary sites in 39 states. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico is one of the largest nuclear waste storage facilities in the U.S. and provides one of the best options for nuclear waste disposal. Their process is called “deep geological disposal,” which is basically burying the nuclear waste in an underground salt mine by drilling about 2 miles in to the earth. This storage process can be extremely effective but if not done carefully can cause ground water contamination, earthquakes, cave-ins, and other problems with underground excavation.

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