New Technology Could Lead to Dramatic Advances in Superfund Cleanups of Rivers
EMSL Analytical tests for chemicals such as PCBs and mercury in environmental samples.
There have been many technological advances since the Superfund program was established, reports the New York Times, and many believe these advances will greatly improve the programís chances of success when dealing with contaminated rivers.
In the past, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) avoided cleaning up polluted waterways, because the process was too expensive, difficult, and unpredictable. Trying to determine where contaminants will spread in water is so complicated that the preliminary planning alone can cost more than an entire Superfund cleanup on land. Furthermore, dredging rivers can stir up waste buried in the sediment and potentially do more harm than good.
However, new supercomputers can now calculate the environmental impact of a variety of clean-up procedures, and dredging can be guided by global positioning satellites. Neither was possible when the program began in 1980.
When the Superfund program was originally established, it was sold to Congress based on clean-up technology that was not available then and still does not exist today. However, if Superfund had not existed, nearly 50 million people would be in the direct path of toxic waste exposure.
The program hopes to see even more advancements in the future, such as detoxification of sediments, so that its intentions can be fully executed.
ďThe improvement created by these technologies is very impressive and hopefully will continue,Ē states Michael Chapman, EMSL Analytical, Inc.ís Chemistry Laboratory Manager. ďEMSL Analyticalís advanced chemistry lab helps the cleanup at Superfund sites by detecting toxic chemicals, such as PCBs and mercury.Ē
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is the nationís leading testing laboratory with over 30 locations throughout the United States and Canada. We are a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in consumer product, environmental, industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, microbiology, radon, food, and materials testing services to professionals and the general public.† Please visit our website†for a complete listing of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies
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