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Land, Waste and Emergency Management Innovations

Year 2005 Innovations Pilots

OSWER Innovation Projects
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2005


Project Highlights
  • Developed BenReMod, a model for comparison of road construction materials.
  • Published a report on BenReMod - Development of a Beneficial Reuse Tool for Managing Industrial Byproducts: BenReMod-LCA and BenReMod-MCDA Web Based Tools.
  • Between 2004 and 2007, the Principal Investigator at the University of Toledo demonstrated the model at eight meetings with states and other stakeholders. Approximately 275 participants attended the sessions.

Decision Analysis Tool for Managing Industrial Byproducts

Sponsor: EPA Region 5 - Fiscal Year: 2005

Partners: University of Toledo, American Coal Ash Association, Great Lakes Byproducts Management Association, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Challenge: The U.S. has over 3.5 million miles of roads. To maintain and build new roads, approximately 350 million tons of materials—such as sand, gravel, concrete, steel and asphalt—are used every year. Despite the heavy use of traditional materials to construct roads, large volume industrial byproducts (e.g., steel slag, recycled concrete pavement and reclaimed asphalt pavement) represent a new frontier in future road construction. Industrial byproducts, in many ways, have equal or better engineering properties than traditional materials. The benefits of reusing industrial byproducts for road maintenance and construction have not been fully realized, however, because of poor documentation.

Opportunity: A major difficulty with evaluating reuse options for large volume industrial byproducts is the lack of data and tools for evaluating the benefits of a particular reuse. Project partners recognized that a tool was needed to help state and local regulators, end users, and the public evaluate the benefits of various reuse options for industrial byproducts.

Approach: U.S. EPA issued a grant to the University of Toledo to develop an easy to use, Web-based tool for comparing and ranking the viability of different materials in road construction and maintenance. The resulting Web-based tool is comprised of two Beneficial Reuse Modules (BenReMod): 1) the life cycle assessment (LCA) module, or BenReMod-LCA, calculates life cycle cost, energy, and contaminant emissions, and aggregates contaminant emission masses into various toxicity potentials and 2) the multi-criteria decision making module, or BenReMod-MCDA, ranks road construction scenarios based on BenReMod-LCA output. The tool also evaluates environmental and economic criteria, offers decision-tree analyses, and can incorporate variables from different individuals or groups. The tool was designed for easy access and use and can simulate up to five scenarios simultaneously.

Project Updates: The University of Toledo is no longer updating or maintaining the online tool; however there are related efforts being supported by EPA including the Industrial Materials Recycling Program, which promotes the recycling and beneficial use of industrial materials through education and outreach, and forming partnerships with businesses and organizations, industries, state and local governments, tribes, and other entities.

Additional Information:

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Deconstruction and Building with Reused Materials Training
Summary and Results (PDF) (3 pp, 42K)

Sponsor: EPA Region 1 - Fiscal Year: 2005

Partners: ReCycle North, Habitat for Humanity, Pennsylvania State University, Building Materials Reuse Association, Yestermorrow Design/Build School

Overview: The project developed a national train-the-trainer program for building deconstruction and the use of reclaimed building materials. Deconstruction and materials reuse provide environmental benefits by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from landfills and reducing energy and resource consumption by extracting resources from old building materials.

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Northwest Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) Recycling Program for Rural Hospitals
Summary and Results (PDF) (3 pp, 48K)

Sponsor: EPA Region 10 - Fiscal Year: 2005

Partners: Oregon Center for Environmental Health, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Good Shepherd Health Care, Legacy Health System, Practice Greenhealth

Overview: The project created and replicated a plastics-recycling program to increase the recycling efforts of rural hospitals. While all hospitals face barriers to recycling plastics, rural hospitals are confronted with the added disadvantage of being isolated from many recycling services and resources.

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Performance and Sustainability of Mulch Biowalls for Environmental Cleanup
Summary and Results (PDF) (2 pp, 34K)

Sponsor: EPA Region 6 - Fiscal Year: 2005

Partners: U.S. Air Force, EPA Office of Research and Development

Overview: The project developed and applied the tools and analyses necessary to further our understanding of the reactions that degrade chlorinated solvents in mulch biowalls. The effectiveness of using permeable mulch biowalls constructed from mulch and compost to clean up groundwater contaminated with chlorinated solvents had been variable, and in some cases had not been sufficient to meet performance objectives.

The use of mulch biowalls to remediate chlorinated solvents in groundwater provides a low-cost alternative to current reactive barriers. Furthermore, the use of mulch and compost promotes the recycling of agricultural and landscaping waste products. These low-cost materials can be derived and recycled locally, and may prevent unnecessary disposal to local landfills.

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Reusing Fly Ash to Produce a New Wastewater Treatment Chemical
Summary and Results (PDF) (2 pp, 33K)

Sponsor: EPA Region 7 - Fiscal Year: 2005

Partners: Iowa State University, City of Ames Electric Services, Ames Water Pollution Control Facility

Overview: The project tested a new flue gas wet-scrubbing process using power-plant fly ash to produce a new wastewater-treatment chemical. The project not only produced a useful chemical from solid and gas wastes, but it also saved land resources.

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Project Highlights
  • Out of more than 27,000 samples collected from asphalt shingle recyclers, asbestos was detected in a little more than one percent, leading to the conclusion that the probability of encountering a tear-off asphalt shingle with asbestos is small.
  • Available information suggests that recycling of tear-off asphalt shingles, especially into hot-mix asphalt, is technically feasible and is likely to offer economic and environmental benefits.
  • In collaboration with state regulators, a list of 43 best practice recommendations was compiled that focused on three areas: implementing a supply quality assurance/quality control system, optimizing operations, and developing a comprehensive marketing plan.
  • Updated ShingleRecycling.org, previously developed by the Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA), and used it as an outreach tool that provides information—including the best practices guide and white paper—on asphalt shingle recycling markets, effective environmental and worker health protection procedures, economics, environmental regulations, research, industry events and contacts.

Tear-off Asphalt Shingles Recycling

Sponsor: EPA Region 5 - Fiscal Year: 2005

Partners: Construction Materials Recycling Association, Solid Waste Management Board, Bituminous Roadways, Johnson Farms, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Challenge: Approximately 11 million tons of tear-off (i.e., "post-consumer" or "used") asphalt shingle scrap is generated each year in the United States. The waste comes primarily from renovation and demolition activities. Tear-off asphalt shingle recycling has great market potential, but is rarely practiced due to regulatory concerns over potential human health and environmental impacts, particularly with regard to asbestos. Sound information on the true risks was sorely lacking, resulting in overly conservative regulations that inhibit recycling efforts.

Opportunity: To alleviate regulatory, human health and environmental concerns and increase tear-off asphalt shingle recycling, project partners recognized the need to evaluate available data to determine actual environmental risks and potential solutions. This information needed to be compiled into a widely accessible and easy-to-use format to educate regulatory agencies as well as tear-off asphalt shingle recyclers.

Approach: Project partners conducted a critical evaluation of data and information related to asphalt shingle recycling, including a review of available asphalt shingle manufacturer data, federal and state regulations, trade association literature, laboratory data, and data from asphalt shingle recycling facilities. Based on the data and information reviewed, project partners developed three main products: the first tear-off shingle recycling best practices guide, a white paper and an updated website.

Project Updates: Since the 2005 Asphalt Shingles Recycling project, CMRA and other entities have held several workshops, webinars and forums on asphalt shingle recycling including the 2007 Asphalt Shingle Recycling Forum, which was attended by 228 participants from across the U.S. and Canada. State departments of transportation around the country continue to experiment with using recycled asphalt shingles in pavement and develop new permissive specifications that allow their use in hot-mix asphalt.

Additional Information:

Opportunity: To alleviate regulatory, human health and environmental concerns and increase tear-off asphalt shingle recycling, project partners recognized the need to evaluate available data to determine actual environmental risks and potential solutions. This information needed to be compiled into a widely accessible and easy-to-use format to educate regulatory agencies as well as tear-off asphalt shingle recyclers.

Approach: Project partners conducted a critical evaluation of data and information related to asphalt shingle recycling, including a review of available asphalt shingle manufacturer data, federal and state regulations, trade association literature, laboratory data, and data from asphalt shingle recycling facilities. Based on the data and information reviewed, project partners developed three main products: the first tear-off shingle recycling best practices guide, a white paper and an updated website.

Project Updates: Since the 2005 Asphalt Shingles Recycling project, CMRA and other entities have held several workshops, webinars and forums on asphalt shingle recycling including the 2007 Asphalt Shingle Recycling Forum, which was attended by 228 participants from across the U.S. and Canada. State departments of transportation around the country continue to experiment with using recycled asphalt shingles in pavement and develop new permissive specifications that allow their use in hot-mix asphalt.

Additional Information:

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Project Highlights
  • The program collected 80 thousand pounds of high quality waste cooking oil from 31 restaurants in eight weeks, enabling production of approximately 32,000 gallons of B20 fuel (equivalent to 757 barrels).
  • Emission reductions from 31,830 gallons of B20 fuel (20% biodiesel) included:
    • 40.76 pounds of particulate matter (soot)
    • 53.41 pounds of hydrocarbons (equivalent to C02 emissions from 31,777 gallons of gas consumed)
    • 452.52 pounds of carbon monoxide
    • 94.93 pounds of nitrous oxides (equivalent to C02 emissions from 1,496 gallons of gas consumed)
    • 102,626 pounds of carbon dioxide from municipal vehicles (equivalent to C02 emissions from 5,219 gallons of gas consumed)
  • Santa Cruz’s diesel powered vehicles required no modifications to switch to using B20 fuel.

Urban Waste to Fuel Initiative

Sponsor: EPA Region 9 - Fiscal Year: 2005

Partners: Santa Cruz Public Works, Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transportation District, Pioneer Liquid Transport, Bio-Energy Systems, California Restaurant Association, Pacific Biofuel, Inc.

Challenge: It is estimated that restaurants and hotels in the United States generate three billion gallons of waste cooking oil per year, some of which is disposed of in sewers and/or landfills. This almost entirely untapped resource could be used for energy recovery when converted into biodiesel fuel. The use of biodiesel fuel could help develop energy independence since the United States consumes about 42 billion gallons of diesel per year, most of which is imported from overseas.

Opportunity: Waste cooking oil is converted into biodiesel fuel through filtering and refining. The use of the biodiesel fuel reduces vehicle emissions in addition to offering an alternative to petroleum-based diesel. A project in which restaurants have their waste cooking oil removed for free would provide a win-win scenario in which both industry (restaurants and biofuel manufacturers) and the environment benefit; and serve as a model for other communities across the country to finally tap into the vast, latent potential of waste cooking oil.

Approach: Utilizing a $75,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency innovations grant, Ecology Action coordinated with Energy Alternative Solutions, Inc.; Salinas Tallow; Coast Oil; and the City of Santa Cruz, California to collect used cooking oil from 31 area restaurants and convert it into biodiesel to fuel municipal vehicles. The project was coordinated by Ecology Action and relied on Energy Solutions, Inc. as the local biodiesel production plant; Salinas Tallow for the storage, collection and pretreatment of fryer oil; Coast Oil for blending and distributing the biodiesel fuel; and the City of Santa Cruz for testing this fuel in their vehicle fleet.

Project Updates: This project demonstrated the environmental potential of collecting and recycling waste cooking oil for use as a renewable fuel. The City of Santa Cruz continues to utilize B20 fuel produced from this ongoing collection and recycling effort, and the project has encouraged other communities to develop similar programs—both San Diego and San Francisco now have their own waste cooking oil collection programs. San Francisco expanded the model to include the collection of "brown" grease, which requires further treatment and blending.

Additional Information:

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Project Highlights
  • Fifty-four local dental offices and eleven dental offices from other parts of Missouri participated in the half-day dental amalgam BMP training course.
  • The post-training survey revealed a five percent decrease in overall dental amalgam use, including a significant decrease in improper disposal of amalgam materials, a significant increase in amalgam recycling, and an increased number of dentists using an amalgam recycler.
  • The samples revealed a 96 percent reduction in mercury levels in the influent wastewater and no difference in the mercury levels in effluent wastewater after the introduction of BMPs.

Voluntary Reductions in Dental Amalgam Mercury
Summary and Results (PDF) (2 pp, 39K)

Sponsor: EPA Region 7 - Fiscal Year: 2005

Partners: University of Missouri, Missouri Dental Association, American Dental Association, City of Springfield Public Works, Greater Springfield Dental Association

Challenge: In 2005, EPA estimated that dentists contributed an average of 0.1 to .03 grams of mercury (a potent neurotoxin) per day to wastewater—in the form of dental amalgam. Comprised of mercury, silver and other materials, dental amalgam is one of several filling materials used by dentists to restore teeth. State regulation of mercury varies; some states have passed laws requiring mandatory use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) in dental offices or the installation of amalgam separators, which catch and hold excess amalgam waste and prevent it from entering the sewage system via dental office drains. At the time, there was no existing data to show the individual effectiveness of either BMPs or the addition of amalgam separators on mercury levels in wastewater influent, effluent and sludge.

Opportunity: Data on BMP amalgam separator use and mercury levels in wastewater needed to be collected and analyzed to determine their effectiveness. Partnering with local dentists and dental associations willing to implement BMPs or use amalgam separators in their dental offices can provide the necessary data to help reduce exposure to mercury.

Approach: Dentists in the Springfield, Missouri area were surveyed to collect baseline data on amalgam use and management practices. They then participated in a half-day training course on dental amalgam BMPs. After the training, dentists were surveyed again to measure any changes in management practices. Influent and effluent samples were also collected at two local wastewater treatment plants before and after the BMP training to determine if there were any changes in mercury levels in the wastewater. The majority of participating dentists did not use amalgam separators, which are not required in Missouri or Springfield so more focus was placed on the implementation of the BMPs.

Project Updates: EPA continues to support dental amalgam education and the impact it has on public health and the environment through an EPA website focused on dental amalgam. EPA is also working with dental amalgam manufacturers to encourage proper dental amalgam waste management as a public education effort under section 8001 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act. The Agency has developed inserts to be included in dental amalgam packages, which will then be distributed to dentists. The insert encourages dentists to collect mercury amalgam waste using gray bags and amalgam separators, and to send the waste for recycling at a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)-permitted mercury recycler.

Additionally, EPA has taken some regulatory actions related to dental amalgam. In September 2010, EPA announced the start of regulatory development to reduce and establish requirements for the discharge of mercury from dental offices. In February 2011, EPA issued a new rule that limits air emissions for mercury and eight other hazardous air pollutants from publicly owned incinerators that burn sewage sludge, which is a major step toward keeping mercury releases from dental amalgam waste out of the environment. Some state and local governments have also implemented mandatory and voluntary programs to reduce dental mercury discharges.

Additional Information

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