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Environmental Ethics and the Professional Engineer

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Title: Environmental Ethics and the Professional Engineer


1
Environmental Ethics and the Professional Engineer
  • Prepared by
  • Padraig G. Finlay, P.Eng.

2
Presentation
  • Prepared for
  • Introduction to Environmental Engineering Seminar
    Series
  • Mackenzie Engineering Building ME 3165
  • Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 28 October 2008

3
Objectives
  • Share information on environmental considerations
    and on engineering professional ethics
  • Present case studies for consideration

4
Outline
  • Selected Environmental Issues, Developments,
    Principles, Policies, Approaches, Legislation,
    Guides
  • Selected Engineering Codes of Ethics and
    Environmental Considerations
  • Roles of Professional Engineers
  • Incidences and Case Studies
  • Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Web References

5
Current Environmental Issues
  • Climate Change greenhouses gases
  • Air Quality smog, acid rain
  • Water Quality potable, fish habitat
  • Waste Management - recycling
  • Workplace toxics exposure e.g., asbestos
  • Consumer toxics exposure e.g., lead in toys

6
Environmental Developments
  • Natural and historical pollution
  • Industrial Revolution-coal (coke, gas), steam
    power, metallurgy, canals, railways, electricity,
    internal combustion engine, chemicals, etc.
  • Dead River Thames, Great Stink 1858 (T.
    Crapper!)
  • London smog, 1952, 4,000 dead
  • Continuous improvements in engineering and
    environmental performance
  • Today - Global time warps in environments

7
Environmental Milestones
  • Silent Spring, 1962, Rachel Carson
  • Birds, pesticides, DDT bans
  • Limits to Growth, 1972, Club of Rome
  • Environmental consequences of economic growth
  • Our Common Future, 1987, Brundtland World
    Commission
  • Deterioration of natural environment, resources
  • First Earth Summit, 2002, United Nations
  • Sustainable Development development that meets
    the needs of the present without compromising the
    ability of future generations to meet their own
    needs

8
Environmental Groups
  • Sierra Club, USA 1892, Canada 1963
  • World Wildlife Foundation, 1961
  • Pollution Probe, 1969
  • Greenpeace, 1971
  • Canadian Environmental Network, 1977
  • Green from fringe to mainstream
  • Green policies and parties

9
Environmental Agencies
  • USA Canada International Joint Commission, 1909
  • Environment Canada, 1971, and provincial agencies
  • United Nations Environment Program, 1972
  • World Bank environmental initiatives

10
Industry Groups Economic and Environmental
  • Canadian Motor Vehicle Association
  • Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers,
    Petroleum Products Institute
  • Canadian Electricity/Nuclear Associations
  • Forest Products Association of Canada
  • Mining Association of Canada
  • Canadian Chemical Producers Association

11
Environmental Principles and Policies
  • Sustainable development
  • Economic, environmental, social bottom lines
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Precautionary approach
  • Polluter pays
  • Pollution prevention (vs. control, remediation)
  • Integrated pollution prevention and control,
    multimedia
  • Co-benefits of multi-pollutant control
  • Environmental Management Systems

12
Performance Standards- Technology-Based Approaches
  • USA Environmental Protection Agency
  • Best Available Technology Economically Achievable
    (BATEA) Water
  • Maximum, Reasonably, Best, Lowest - Achievable
    Control Technologies (MACT, RACT, BACT, LAER)
    Air
  • European Union, United Nations
  • Best Available Techniques (BAT) (of pollution
    prevention and control, multi-media)
  • Release Concentrations based (end of pipe/stack)
    or Intensity based (release per unit production)
  • Ambient quality considerations
  • dilution not solution to pollution
  • should protect sensitive eco-systems after BAT

13
Legislations and Guidelines-International
  • World Bank International Finance Corporation (WB
    IFC) Environmental Social Standards
  • Various activities and industrial sectors
  • United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and
    Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)-
    Conventions and Protocols- various pollutants and
    practices
  • Climate Change, Waste Exports/Imports, Prior
    Informed Consent, Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen
    Oxides, Volatile Organic Chemicals, Heavy Metals,
    Persistent Organic Pollutants, Chlorofluorocarbons
    , etc.

14
Legislations and Guidelines- Canadian
  • Fisheries Act (FA), 1868
  • Mining, pulp and paper effluents
  • Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA),
    1999
  • Toxics management, lead smelters emissions
  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA),
    1992
  • New projects with federal interest
  • Various provincial, territorial, municipal
    environmental acts, regulations and site permits

15
Ethics Definition
  • The basic principles of right actions, especially
    with respect to a particular person, profession,
    etc.
  • Doubleday Dictionary, 1975

16
Codes of Ethics
  • Engineers Canada Guideline on Code and National
    Guideline on Environment and Sustainability
  • Canadian Provincial and Territorial Professional
    Engineers Associations (12) Individual Codes
  • USA National Society of Professional Engineers
    Code, and National Academy of Engineering- Online
    Ethics Centre
  • Engineers Ireland Code (comprehensive, current)

17
Codes and the Environment
  • safeguard human life and welfare, and the
    environment (Engineers Canada Code)
  • hold paramount the safety, health and welfare
    of the public and the protection of the
    environment and promote health and safety within
    the workplace (Engineers Canada Code)

18
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  Code of Ethics            
 
                     

    Aims, Functions, Standards

History

Executive

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Code of Ethics

Bye-Laws

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  Engineers Ireland Code of Ethics 2.0 ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS2.1 Members shall have due regard to the effects of their work on the health and safety of individuals, and on the welfare of society and of its impacts on the natural environment.2.2 Members shall promote the principles and practices of sustainable development and the needs of present and future generations. 2.3 Members shall strive to ensure that engineering projects for which they are responsible will, as far as is practicable, have minimal adverse effects on the environment, on the health and safety of the public and on social and cultural structures. 2.4 Members shall strive to accomplish the objectives of their work with the most efficient consumption of natural resources which is practicable economically, including the maximum reduction in energy usage, waste and pollution. 2.5 Members shall promote the importance of social and environmental factors to professional colleagues, employers and clients with whom they share responsibility and collaborate with other professions to mitigate the adverse impacts of their common endeavours. 2.6 Members shall foster environmental awareness within the profession and among the public. Published April 2004 Back to Index  
           
22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland Email info_at_engineersireland.ie
19
Roles of Professional Engineers
  • Engineers in government, industry, consulting
    different contexts, common responsibilities
  • Responsible environmental governance
  • Clear accountability for environmental
    performance compliance with regulations,
    conformance to guidelines, use of best practices
  • Environmental management systems (EMS) -auditing,
    reporting, transparency, etc.
  • Advocates of environmental excellence

20
Incidences of Concern-Civil
  • Quebec City Bridge, Canada, 1907, 1916
  • Cantilever bridge collapsed, 75 and 13 killed
  • Miscalculations of weights
  • Beginning of professional engineers associations
  • Original Engineers iron rings from bridge?
  • Laval Overpass, Canada, 2006
  • Collapsed, 5 killed
  • Improper rebar design and installation
  • Ongoing examination of Canadian infrastructure

21
Quebec Bridge Collapse
22
Laval Overpass Collapse
23
Incidences of Concern-Chemical
  • Bhopal Chemical Plant, India, 1984
  • Gas tank leak caused by water addition reactions
  • Methy Isocynate (MIC) intermediate for Carbaryl
    pesticide manufacture, other gases also released
  • Estimated 3,000 to 20,000 killed
  • Resulted in increased safety in chemical plants
  • Love Canal Waste Site, USA, 1978
  • Abandoned canal, clay sealed, drummed chemical
    wastes, 1947
  • Built school and houses on site, after 1957
  • Adverse health effects, controversy
  • Resulted in increased waste management
    requirements

24
Bhopal Disaster
25
Love Canal Wastes
26
Incidences of Concern - Nuclear
  • Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant, USA, 1979
  • Loss of Coolant Accident
  • Partial reactor meltdown, some radioactivity
    released
  • Design, operator errors No health effects
    claimed
  • Improved Emergency Response procedures
  • Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, Ukraine, 1986
  • Experiment for Emergency Core Cooling System
  • Massive power excursion, Explosions, Fires,
    Reactor destroyed
  • Massive radioactive releases, wide dispersion
  • Major design and operator flaws

27
Three Mile Island
28
Chernobyl Accident
29
Case Study-1
  • Describe situation
  • Engineer responsible for design, commissioning
    and air and water pollution control systems for a
    new electricity generating station. Project over
    budget and behind schedule. Management wants to
    reduce and delay environmental systems. What
    should Engineer do?
  • Identify issues - legal, ethical, practical
  • Identify options and associated implications
  • Recommend option and action

30
Electricity Generation-Coal Fuelled,
Environmental Releases
  • INPUTS - PROCESSES - RELEASES

COAL OIL WATER (process, cooling)
BOILER STEAM ELECTRICITY
AIR EMISSIONS (fly ash, sulphur dioxide,
nitrogen oxides.) WASTEWATERS (process,
sanitary) RESIDUES (bottom ash, fly ash, sludges)
31
Case Study -2
  • Describe situation
  • Engineer responsible for maintenance and
    operation of municipal sewer system. Untreated
    sewage inadvertently released through defective
    overflow gate to river. What should Engineer do?
  • Identify issues - legal, ethical, practical
  • Identify options and associated implications
  • Recommend option and action

32
Municipal Wastewater- Management, Environmental
Releases
  • INPUTS - PROCESSES - RELEASES

SEWAGE (residential, industrial wastewater)
SURFACE RUNOFF
COLLECTION AND CENTRAL TREATMENT Storm
sewers Combined sewers
TREATED SEWAGE Storm overflow
Untreated segregated sewage
Untreated combined sewage
33
Conclusions
  • Rich history of engineering and environmental
    developments
  • Many industrial accidents due to unclear
    accountability and poor communication
  • Environmental engineers may face conflicts of
    interests and ethical challenges
  • Engineers can contribute to the protection of the
    public and environment

34
Recommendations
  • Engineers should be aware of Codes of Ethics,
    especially with respect to provisions for
    protection of the public and the environment
  • Engineers should take into account environmental
    and social, in addition to technological,
    scientific, economic and legal considerations
  • Environmental engineers should be aware of state
    of the art best practices, opportunities and
    responsibilities

35
Web References
  • http//www.engineerscanada.ca/e/guide_guidelines.c
    fm
  • http//www.onlineethics.org/CMS/profpractice/ethco
    des/13411/9972.aspx
  • http//www.engineersireland.ie/ethics/codeofethics
    .pasp?menuid1
  • http//www.ifc.org/ifcext/sustainability.nsf/Conte
    nt/EnvSocStandards
  • http//eippcb.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pages/FActivities.h
    tm
  • Photos - Google Images
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