Solid and Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal
Hazardous wastes are a major concern of environmental engineering. They are a potential hazard for public health, since they may be toxic, radioactive, corrosive, and/or flammable. Hazardous wastes can cause or contribute to the increase of mortality, initiate serious permanent disorders, and when improperly treated can seriously pollute the environment.
Hazardous wastes can exist in various forms, such as solids, liquids or gases, and depending upon their nature, treatment will be carried out accordingly. However, it may not be possible to treat some types of wastes. Up until the recent past, the main method of disposal for hazardous waste was in landfills. This is not a permanent or safe solution, as it was discovered that some quantity escapes into the ground and into the groundwater. Hazardous chemicals can reach water systems, and contaminate the soil used by animals, crops, and communities.
Thus, modern methods of treatment were developed for the disposal of hazardous waste. This includes recycling material into new products, neutralization by which the hazardous elements are eliminated, destruction by incineration, and impounding in a properly designed hazardous waste landfill.
Image Credit: Arch Environmental Group