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Discuss any environmental treatment technology that you are aware of. What are some good and bad design aspects of any of these technologies?

Please include the name of the person or question to which you are replying in the subject line. For example, “Tom’s response to Susan’s comment.”


When it comes to environmental treatment, there are several technologies that are out there but because of my professional occupation, I am not too familiar or aware of what they are.  So to educate me, I will do some research and who knows maybe I will find one that I am aware of. There are 5 green technologies that are used for environmental remediation to help remove pollution, contamination, and exposure to radiation.  These contaminations can be found in groundwater, soil, sediments, or rocks but can be undone by putting human intervention in place.

·  The first green technology used is Thermal Desorption which uses a heat process at different melting points of substance that removed the contaminants from the soil, sludge, or filter cake and uses it.  Do not get this confused with the incineration process which heats the contaminated material to a point it destroys it.

·  The next one is Surfactant Enhanced Aquifer Remediation (SEAR) but better known as solubilization and recovery which injects a chemical solution across the contaminated areas then pumps out the waste at an extraction point.  The primary goal of using this process is to remove the maximum amount of contamination by using small amounts of chemical being pumped while using hydraulic control to help diffuse the waste and chemical.

·   The third technology is In situ Oxidation which takes the toxins inside the contaminants when turns them into less harmful or toxic. This process can be used to treat groundwater and soil contaminates with a pump and treat method to help clean up the contaminants.

·  The fourth technology uses Soil Vapor Extraction and Air Purging this is a physical process that takes the unsaturated state of the contaminate such as vapor from the below groundwater to the surface by applying a vacuum while air purging pushing the contaminate below the water table.

·  The final technology used for environmental treatment is Nanoremediation (In situ Oxidation) which is the future for all technologies which is found in medical processes, computing, and various other fields.  This process has already been used in groundwater treatments as well as extensive testing and research for wastewater treatments and sediment cleanups.

These are all good technologies to treat the environment but I see some issues with them especially when it comes to funding them.  Now when it comes to environmental remediation they are usually funded by government or other related authorities.  The biggest issue is groundwater and surface pollution which cause a major health risk to human populations but these remediation processes pose an incremental health risk as well.  Thermal Desorption is an excellent engineering way to handle contaminants in solid masses but when the clean vapors are released, there is still a chance that toxins can enter the atmosphere so there needs to be some type of monitoring in place to ensure this does not happen. The only issue I see when using the chemical oxidation is that there could not be enough heat to cause the contaminants to evaporate and be left behind in the soil which will find its way into the groundwater and cause health issues for the surrounding human population.

Before placing environmental technologies in place, it is engineers that need to do their homework to ensure that all bases are covered to protect human health and the environment.  By testing the present and future technologies to ensure they work as designed in small areas is a sure way to reduce the likelihood of a failure and lead to an environmental disaster.