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Suggested Citation:"INTRODUCTION." National Research Council. 1984. Disposal of Industrial and Domestic Wastes: Land and Sea Alternatives. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/312.
Page 1
Suggested Citation:"INTRODUCTION." National Research Council. 1984. Disposal of Industrial and Domestic Wastes: Land and Sea Alternatives. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/312.
Page 2
Suggested Citation:"INTRODUCTION." National Research Council. 1984. Disposal of Industrial and Domestic Wastes: Land and Sea Alternatives. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/312.
Page 3

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Untrod cton As population increases, the burden of disposing of society's wastes increases with it. Along with the land and the atmosphere, the oceans present themselves as possible sites to receive some portion of these wastes, but a number of current U.S. laws impose constraints on ocean disposal. These laws include the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, (33 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.), the Clean Air Act, (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.), and the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, (42 U.S.C. 300 et seq.). There are studies indicating that the coastal oceans are underused with respect to the accommodation of societal wastes (Assimilative Capacity of U.S. Coastal Waters for Pollutants. Crystal Mountain, Washington, Workshop Proceedings. NOAA Environmental Research Laboratories, 1979, 284 pp.; The Role of the Ocean in a Waste Management Strategy, National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere, 1981). The concept that the marine environment can be effectively used for waste disposal, however, has not been validated in a comprehensive assessment with land and atmospheric options. Although there have been studies of multimedia management for waste disposal (Multimedium Management of Municipal Sludge, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., 1978, 187 pp.), the development of strategies for a multidisciplinary approach coupling both natural and social sciences remains inadequate. It became clear to the Ocean Policy Committee (OPC) of the National Research Council that the time was right for a more thorough assessment of the current state of knowl- edge of waste management. Specifically, attention should focus on land versus sea options where (1) there are adequate data for rational assessment and (2) scientific, 1

2 engineering, economic, social (including risk assessment), and political factors are all brought into perspective. Therefore, in April 1982, OPC appointed a steering committee to organize a workshop devoted to consideration of the kinds of information needed in evaluating disposal options. The steering committee was cochaired by Edward D. Goldberg of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Stanley I. Auerbach of the Oak Ridge National Lab- oratory. The other members included Norman H. Brooks, California Institute of Technology; Judith M. Capuzzo, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; James A. Crutchfield, University of Washington; David A. Deese, Boston College; William F. Garber, Bureau of Sanitation, Los Angeles; George A. Jackson, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and Richard F. Schwer, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. The steering committee agreed that the workshop should be organized into eight panels: public policy, economics, risk assessment, marine sciences, biological effects, land disposal, sewage sludge, and industrial wastes. In addition to organizing the workshop, the steering committee identified information needs for assessing, for a given site and a given waste material, the options of land, sea, and air disposal and the environmental, economic, and regulatory criteria for selection among those options. The workshop, entitled "Land, Sea, and Air Options for the Disposal of Industrial and Domestic Wastes," was held January 16-21, 1983, in Napa Valley, California. Financial support for the project was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The steering committee agreed that it would be potentially most productive for the workshop to consider two cases: (1) the 106-Mile Ocean Waste Disposal Site (Dumpsite 106) off the New Jersey coast, the largest U.S. ocean site for disposal of industrial wastes, and (2) the sewage sludge disposal problem in Los Angeles and Orange counties, California. In the first case, Dumpsite 106 has been a site for regulated disposal of industrial and some municipal wastes since 1972. Industries have assessed various land disposal schemes, as alternatives to current dumping at sea. The committee agreed that an evaluation of the data that these industries have assembled in their assessments Of land versus sea disposal, complemented by dumpsite

studies carried out by NOAA add EPA, would provide a springboard for the workshop deliberation. The second case involves the disposal of sewage sludge in the Southern California Bight region. Impending changes in sludge generation and disposal have neces sitated extensive studies of land disposal options. Legal restraints have limited complementary ocean disposal options. - Fifty-five individuals (see Appendix A) from the social and natural sciences participated in the workshop. Back- ground papers addressing the goal of the workshop were prepared by some participants and were distributed prior to the workshop as a basis for discussions. Six panels (the economics and risk assessment panels were combined with the public policy panel) considered the major relevant issues and presented their findings at plenary sessions. The panel session topics and their chairmen were public policy, Judith T. Kildow; marine sciences, George A. Jackson; land disposal, Stanley I. Auerbach; biological effects, Judith M. Capuzzo; industrial wastes, Richard F. Schwer; and sewage sludge, William F. Garber. The participants were drawn from industry, government, academia, and public interest groups. Despite their different areas of professional activity, they were able to reach a consensus. All participants contributed to the written reports of their respective panels. The panel reports were presented to the workshop in plenary session on the last day, and revisions resulting from plenary session were incorporated into the panel reports by the chairmen of each panel. The revised panel reports were circulated to participants for review and comment. The panel chairmen, working with the steering committee, revised the panel reports in response to the extensive comments made by the participants at the workshop and outside reviewers. The result of this process is a report consisting of the following six chapters, which reflect the content and deliberations of the panel sessions at the workshop.

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Can decision makers meaningfully compare land versus sea options for waste disposal? Using available scientific data on waste behavior and new studies from East and West Coast dump sites, this book shows how to use a matrix approach to rank the ecological and health consequences of any combination of waste, site, and disposal system design.

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