In Spain, 20% of the earth or concrete ponds used to store lixiviates are close to a river. This represents a significant environmental risk if the pond is broken, becomes eroded or its contents overflow. The primary dangers from the 87 such ponds counted throughout Spain in 2006 stem from the potential spills of polluting liquids because of ponds starting to leak or their sides being broken.
Now, a research team from the Jaume I University (UJI) has published a new Environmental Risk Index in the latest edition of the magazine Waste Management, showing the risks from earth lixiviate ponds located in composting plants, dangerous waste dumps and sewage treatment stations.
“These liquids usually contain a high level of pollutants (chemical substances, heavy metals, etc.), which means that storing them always entails environmental risks since, if one of these ponds were to burst, the lixiviate would spill over the surrounding area, and this could affect sensitive environmental features and have a serious environmental impact,” Francisco J. Colomer Mendoza, lead author of the study and a researcher in the Mechanical Engineering and Construction Department of the UJI, told SINC.
The Environmental Risk Index uses quantitative indicators to evaluate the danger posed by the ponds to the environment. However, in order to measure the scale of the danger, it is necessary to “understand the safety parameters of the pond, its morphological and geometric characteristics, and the presence of environmental features in the area that would be flooded”.
Colomer says that these parameters include the possibility a pond’s banks eroding, the way in which it has been water-proofed, that security of its banks and the likelihood of overflows caused by heavy precipitation. The researcher highlights another important aspect as being “the effect of the avalanche of lixiviates if the pond were to break, with representative parameters being the form in which the liquids would flow downstream, and their contaminating power”.
The tool also makes it possible to estimate the size of the surface area that would be affected by the flood of lixiviates, and its consequences, while previous methodologies only evaluated one part of their environmental risk. The index evaluates the environmental risk without seeking historical data on accidents or conditions, which were necessary in traditional methodologies.
The ponds posing the greatest environmental risk are located less than 2,000 metres from a water course. In these cases, if the ponds’ sides were broken, the lixiviates would reach the water and contaminate it. The new Index allows the staff in charge of each facility to calculate its risk factor.
SINC Team | alfa
Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering