Chapter 21: Solid, Toxic and Hazardous Waste

Chapter 21: Solid, Toxic, and
Hazardous Waste
21.2 Waste Disposal Methods
• Open dumps release hazardous materials into
air and water
• Ocean dumping is nearly uncontrollable
• We often export waste to countries illequipped to handle it
• Landfills receive most of our waste
• Incineration produces energy but causes
21.3 Shrinking The Waste Stream
• Recycling captures resources from garbage
• What Do You Think? Environmental Justice
• Recycling saves money, materials, energy, and
• Commercial-scale recycling and composting is an
area of innovation
• Demanufacturing is necessary for appliances and
• Reuse is even more efficient than recycling
• Reducing waste is often the cheapest option
21.4 Hazardous And Toxic Wastes
• Hazardous waste must be recycled, contained, or
• Superfund" sites are those listed for federal cleanup
• Cleaning Up Toxic Waste with Plants:
• Brownfields present both liability and opportunity
• Hazardous waste storage must be safe
• What Can You Do? Alternatives to Hazardous
Household Chemicals
• 1980: Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
• Potential Responsible Parties
– Current owner or operator
– Owner or operator of a site at the time of disposal
– Person who arranged for disposal
– Person who transported contaminant to a site;
must have also selected that site
Superfund Sites 2008
Love Canal
• 1890’s: William T. Love planned a power
generating canal around Niagara Falls
• In 1920’s canal used for dumping by city of
Niagara Falls
• In 1942 Hooker Chemical granted right to
dispose of waste in canal.
Hooker Chemical and Love Canal
• Canal drained and lined with thick clay
• Waste buried in 55 gallon drums
• By 1952, 21,000 tons of waste buried
– caustics, alkalines
– fatty acids
– chlorinated hydrocarbons
Hooker Chemical and Love Canal
• Love Canal waste buried 20-25 feet deep
• Hooker Chemical bought canal and buffer on
either side
• Disposal complied with law and good practice
at the time
• City of Niagara Falls later attempted to buy
site for a school
• Hooker refused to sell on safety grounds
Niagara Falls and Love Canal
• Hooker took school board to site, conducted
borings and demonstrated contamination
• City insisted on buying site anyway
• Hooker sold on condition that they be held
blameless for any future problems
Niagara Falls and Love Canal
1954: School site moved to avoid wastes
1957: Sewers for subdivision breach wastes
1977: Wet weather brings wastes to surface
1978: Jimmy Carter declares emergency
1995: Occidental Petroleum (which bought
Hooker) settles for $129 million in damages
Changing the Rules
• No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall
be passed (Article I, Sec. 9)
• Retroactive criminal law is flatly
– Can’t change penalties or rules of evidence
• Retroactive civil law is Constitutional
– Some civil/criminal retroactive laws are legal
• Courts can refuse to enforce illegal or
“unconscionable” contracts
Criminal and Civil Law
• Criminal Law
– Huge disparity of power
– Burden of proof on State
– Innocent until proven guilty
– Reasonable doubt
• Civil Law
– Parties may be nearly equal
– Somebody is going to be unhappy
– Preponderance of the evidence
– Control of the Facts