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Environmental Science Geology 1401 402


meter - the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during a time ... Study published in 1985 compared 523 Love Canal children versus 440 controls and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Environmental Science Geology 1401 402

Environmental ScienceGeology 1401 402
404Instructor Don Thieme
  • Scientific Method (continued),
  • Measurement, Statistics

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Laboratory Experiments
  • control population to insure reproducibility
  • "double-blind" design to remove observer bias
  • calibration of instruments with standards
  • standardization of measurement techniques
    (significant digits)
  • statistical comparison and interpretation of

  • units of measure (English, metric, SI)
  • instrument precision and accuracy
  • sample size (n) and replicate measurements
  • interval between measurements
  • random vs. "stratified" sampling
  • "exposure limits" and "risk assessment"


Precision is how much internal variation there is
in your measurements, and can be estimated by
the standard deviation. Accuracy is how close
your measurements are to the "true" value,
estimated by calibration to other measurements
of a laboratory standard.
Metric System (cgs units)
k 1000 kilometer, kilogram c 100th
10-2 centimeter, cc, centigram m 1000th
10-3 millimeter, milligram, millisecond mm
1,000,000th micrometer, microsecond
10-6 nm 10-9 nannometer, nannosecond
Units of Measure
  • English system (inch, foot, pound, quart, gallon,
    Fahrenheit degrees)
  • Metric system (mm, cm, meter, km, gram, kg,
    liter, Celsius, Kelvin, pascal, bar)
  • Systeme International

Systeme International
  • meter - the length of the path travelled by light
    in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299 792 458
    of a second.
  • second - the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of
    the radiation emitted during transition to the
    ground state of 133Ce.
  • kelvin - 1/273.16 of the thermodynamic
    temperature of the triple point of water.

Systeme International
  • ampere - current between two straight parallel
    conductors placed 1 meter apart in vacuum which
    produce between these conductors a force equal to
    2 x 10-7 newton per meter of length.
  • mole - the amount of a substance which contains
    as many elementary entities (molecules) as there
    are atoms in 0.012 kilogram of 12C

Avogadro's Number
  • 6.02252 x 1023
  • The number of atoms or molecules in one mole of a

  • Freezing point of H20 0C (273.14 K)
  • Boiling point of H20 100C (373.14 K)
  • C (F - 32) / 1.8
  • F (C x 1.8) 32

  • Force per unit Area
  • The SI unit of pressure is the Pascal, symbol Pa,
    a pressure of one newton per square metre (N/m2).
  • bar 1 x 105 (100,000) Pa 1 atm
  • millibar (mb) 100 Pa

Temperature and Pressure
  • Standard temperature and pressure (STP) refers to
    0C (273.14 K) and pressure of 1 atm (101,325
  • These values approximate freezing temperature and
    atmospheric pressure at sea level.

Particle Size
Gravel is coarser than 2 mm
Geometric reduction 1/2, 1/4, 1/16,...
Sand (1/16 - 2 mm) visible to naked eye.
Silt is too small to see but can be felt.
Clay particles are less than 4 microns.
Chemical Analysis
  • Rock, soil, or particulate solids
  • Ashed plant tissues
  • Water samples, liquid phases
  • Organic compounds and molecules
  • Air, vapor, gas phases

Chemical Analysis
  • Most analyses of both solids and liquids are
    actually done on extracts ("wet" chemistry)
  • Results typically reported as parts per million
    (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb)
  • ppm is equivalent to milligrams per liter (mg/l)
  • ppb is equivalent to micrograms per liter (?g/l)

Dimensional Analysis
  • There are four basic dimensions
  • L Length (L)
  • M Mass
  • T Time
  • Q Electric Charge
  • The dimensions of more complicated quantities can
    be expressed as powers of these four.

Dimensional Analysis
  • Area L2
  • Volume L3
  • Velocity L/T
  • Acceleration L/T2
  • Force ML/T2
  • Dimensional analysis can be used to derive or
    check formulas. The quantities on either side of
    an equation must have the same dimensions.
    Quantities can be added or subtracted only if
    they have the same dimensions.

  • Measures of Central Tendency
  • Mean Sum of observations/ n
  • Median value greater than half of the
  • Mode Most common observation

  • Measures of Dispersion
  • Variance sum of squared deviations about the
    mean /n
  • Standard error square root of the variance

  • shows frequency
  • distribution (y-axis)
  • for measurement
  • categories (x-axis)
  • may be grouped
  • Median 62 in
  • same as the mean
  • and the mode for
  • a symmetrical
  • ("normal")
  • distribution

A distribution showing positive
skewness (right-skewed) This is typical of many
environmental variables, such as water
chemistry values The extreme values, although
rare, may be very imporant
  • Correlation
  • measure of the degree to which measurements
  • cannot infer causality from correlation

r2 1
Scientific Theories
  • "theoria" means to look in Greek
  • the best description or explanation available for
    a given phenomenon
  • supported by an overwhelming body of data and
  • generally accepted by the scientific community

Environmental Science
  • interdisciplinary
  • physical constraints on living organisms
  • impacts of organisms on the physical world
  • must transcend dichotomy between "pure" and
    "applied" science
  • must transcend dichotomy between "natural" and
    "social" science

Modern Environmentalism
  • 1661 - English diarist John Evelyn complained
    about air pollution caused by coal fires
  • 1880 - formation of a national Fog and Smoke
    committee in Britain
  • 1913 - John Muir fights damming of the Hetch
    Hetchy Valley (Yosemite Park)
  • 1962 - publication of Rachel Carson's Silent

Earth Day
  • planned at the November 1969 UNESCO Conference on
    the Environment in San Francisco
  • first observed on March 20, 1970
  • vernal equinox selected to symbolize renewal and
    balance in natural systems

  • meeting the needs of the present without
    compromising the ability of future generations to
    meet their own needs
  • must also recognize the desires of the developing
    world to improve their quality of life
    (sustainable development)

Precautionary Principle
  • Where there are threats of serious or
    irreversible damage, lack of full scientific
    certainty shall not be used as a reason for
    postponing cost-effective measures to prevent
    environmental degradation
  • United Nations Conference on Environment and
    Development, Rio de Janeiro, 1992

Hudson River PCBs
  • 1929 - Monsanto corporation began manufacturing
    PCBs as an oil to insulate electrical components
  • - General Electric used the PCBs in
    transformers, capacitors
  • 1938 - first studies report possible health
    hazards of PCBs
  • 1976 - PCBs banned due primarily to increased
    cancer risk

The GE Plant in Hudson Falls, New York
  • GE discharged PCBs beginning in 1947 at Fort
    Edward and in 1952 at Hudson Falls
  • PCBs trapped behind a dam at Fort Edward
  • Dam was removed in 1973, contami-nating all 200
    river miles

Containment or Cleanup?
  • 1973 - removal of Fort Edward dam resulted in the
    downstream release ca. 1,300,000 m3 of PCB-laden
  • 1976 - the New York State Department of
    Environmental Conservation (DEC) banned all
    fishing downstream to Troy, NY
  • GE argued against dredging

Containment or Cleanup?
  • February, 2002 - EPA signed a decision to begin
    cleanup of PCBs in Hudson River
  • 460 million dredging project
  • 2 million m3 of contaminated sediment from the
    river bottom in the reaches upstream of Albany

Love Canal
  • unsuccessful, abandoned canal on the southeast
    side of Niagara Falls, New York
  • used as landfill site by Hooker Chemical,
  • sold to the city for 99th Street School
  • high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)
    in material oozing out of site by 1970s

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Love Canal
  • children burned by water in creek (1953)
  • high rate of miscarriages among families in the
    first tier of homes fronting on the canal (NY
    Public Health, 1973)
  • Study published in 1985 compared 523 Love Canal
    children versus 440 controls and found higher
    prevalence of seizures (2.5 times), learning
    disabilities (1.5 times), hyperactivity (almost 3
    times), eye irritation (2 times), skin rashes (2
    times), abdominal pain (almost 2 times), and
    incontinence (3 times)

Love Canal
  • in early 1978, Carlspan Corporation recommends
    "remediation," a clay cap over the canal and tile
    drainage system.
  • no action taken by city
  • declared a federal emergency by President Jimmy
    Carter in August of 1978

Love Canal
  • April 24, 1979 EPA approves 4 million for
    remedial work
  • over 250 million spent in over 20 years but
    hazardous waste remains buried at Love Canal
  • school and "first tier" of homes in subdivision
    were bulldozed and also buried

A public corporation took ownership of the
remaining abandoned properties, fixed up the
homes, and resold them during the 1990s. The
"new" neighborhood is called "Black Creek
Times Beach
  • town in Missouri near St. Louis
  • sprayed the streets with waste oil to keep down
  • oil came from Independent Petrochemical Company
    (IPC) and was contaminated with dioxin (TCDD)
  • in 1982, the entire town was evacuated by the
    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Times Beach
  • 265,000 tons of dioxin-contaminated soil removed
    between 1982 and 1997
  • contaminated soil was burned on-site in a
    temporary incinerator
  • in 1990, site cleanup responsibility was
    transferred by EPA to Syntex Agribusiness

Bhopal, India
  • December 3, 1984
  • methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas was leaked from the
    Union Carbide pesticide plant
  • methyl isocyanate is an important active
    ingredient in the pesticide Sevin

Bhopal, India
  • Union Carbide plant in Bhopal was entirely owned
    and managed by their Indian subsidiary
  • American corporate executives flew to Bhopal on
    December 4, 1984 with an offer of 1-5 million to
    help the victims
  • Indian government ejected the American execs and
    refused to settle outside of Indian judicial

Bhopal, India
  • 3,800 people killed (Madhya Pradesh)
  • over 200,000 injured (India)
  • only 40 persons experienced permanent total
    disability (Union Carbide)
  • 2,680 persons experienced permanent partial
    disability (Union Carbide)

MIC Chemical Poisoning
  • typical temporary symptoms include skin
    inflamation, chest pain, breathlessness, and
  • can lead to severe pneumonia, tumors, laryngeal
    edema, and heart attacks

Union Carbide Settlement
  • 470 million to cover the costs of all
    compensation claims
  • not decided until February, 1989
  • too late for most of the victims
  • 1985 - Very similar Union Carbide pesticide plant
    in Institute, WV malfunctioned and leaked toxic
    gas in the Kanawha valley.

Three Mile Island
Three Mile Island
  • March 28, 1979
  • worst nuclear power plant accident in the history
    of the United States
  • Unit 2, one of 2 reactors, was shut down when its
    cooling system malfunctioned
  • Operators made mistakes in response to faulty
    gauge readings

Three Mile Island
  • Thousands of curies of radioactive noble gases
    were released into the air in central
  • Radioactively charged cooling water was
    discharged into the Susquehanna River
  • last major release of gases was in 1981
  • Unit 1 of TMI has resumed operation

  • April, 1986
  • World's worst nuclear power accident
  • V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant on the Pripiat
    River in north-central Ukraine
  • 31 lives lost immediately

  • excess of steam in the cooling system (positive
    void coefficient) caused a steam explosion which
    destroyed the reactor core
  • two explosions destroyed the core of Unit 4 and
    the roof of the reactor building

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  • radioactive fallout from Chernobyl was detected
    all over the world, from Finland to South Africa
  • 20 percent of the farmland in Belarus was
  • 2 million people, a fifth of the Belarus
    population, had to be moved from areas
    contaminated by radiation, including 27 cities
    and more than 2,600 villages
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