Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method evaluates environmental risk from pools containing polluting liquids

23.12.2008
Researchers from the Jaume I University in Castellón have produced an Environmental Risk Index relating to ponds containing lixiviates, polluting liquids from tips or composting plants, which are near river courses. The aim of the study is to quantify their environmental risk and protect surrounding areas.

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.

Practical information to avoid catastrophes
The researchers have applied their methodology to eight lixiviates ponds in the east of Spain (two composting plants, two waste dumps, one dangerous waste dump, one dump for non-dangerous industrial waste, and two urban solid waste dumps), which allowed them to determine that values below 0.025 (out of 1) imply a low environmental risk. If the pond has a higher value than this, it is outside the safety margins, which means that “its design should be modified or its location changed”.

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
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>