Environmental Laws and Agencies that Oversee Them

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Environmental Laws and Agencies that Oversee Them

  • PA Environment and Ecology Book Ch. 9


  • SO …. What happened to Timmy and the FISH?

Bell work Q:

  • Before the 1980’s much of the gasoline sold in the US contained the additive tetraethyl lead. Gasoline producers starting adding it in the 20’s - what do you think was the reason ?
  • Why do we all use unleaded gasoline now?
  • VIDEO 1

Why was lead added to gasoline and why is lead-free gasoline used in new cars?... www.epa.gov

  • Tetraethyl lead (a colorless, oily, poisonous liquid), commonly called "lead," was used as a gasoline additive for automobiles made between the mid-1940s and the end of the 1970s.
  • First, lead improved the way that gasoline burned.
  • Second, it reduced or eliminated the "knocking" sound caused by premature ignition in high-performance large engines and in smaller, high-compression engines.
  • Lead also provided lubrication, which prevented the close-fitting parts of the engine from chafing against one another.

Effects of lead poisoning

  • Adults: elevated blood pressure levels, heart disease and stroke.
  • Children and 4-5X’s as susceptible: increased hyperactivity, reduced attention span, interference w/ growth and neural transmission. THEY ABSORB IT under the age of 7.

When people used leaded gasoline…

  • 7 million tons of lead dust was emitted into the environment and INTO PEOPLE’S BODIES.
  • In the 20’s several workers who tested the additive suddenly died…yet lead was not removed until the 1960’s.
  • WHY did it take so long?
  • SciSHow
  • History

Part 1

  • Sit down
  • Get a white board and a dry erase marker.

Human Health and Hazardous Waste

  • In this section we will be exploring human health, and hazardous waste. First we will refresh your mind of some historical information so that you are educated.
  • Next we will explore toxicology (?) and industrial vs. residential wastes.
  • We will have many small lessons and a final project / assessment as the first set of grades for the new quarter.
  • Pay attention, take notes and ASK QUESTIONS.

Environmental Movement PRE 1970 - Early Europeans

  • Early European settlers to the United States brought from Europe the concept of the commons – people realized the earth natural resources were connected and valuable to everyone.
  • For example the damming of rivers for mills cut off upriver towns from fisheries.
  • Logging and clearing of forest in watersheds
  • harmed local fisheries downstream.

Quiz Time!

  • What concept did European settler bring to the United States?
    • A. Syphilis
    • B. Commons
    • C. Capitalism
    • D. Environmental Science

Conservation movement

  • Progressive era's conservation movement (1890s - 1920s) favored larger enterprises and control began to shift from local governments to the states and the federal government.
  • Conservation groups focus primarily on an issue that’s origins are routed in general expansion
  • Supported by sportsmen the conservation movement is concerned with efficiency of resources and land development.

Conservation in the Progressive Era

  • Theodore Roosevelt was a prominent conservationist, putting the issue high on the national agenda.
  • Roosevelt was deeply committed to conserving natural resources, and considered to be the nation's first conservation President.
  •  American naturalists John Muir, created the Sierra Club
  • Chief of Forestry Gifford Pinchot

Quick Quiz!

  • Which president of the day (1890’s) was a prominent conservationist and put the issue high on the national agenda?
  • The famous American naturalist __________ created helped establish the Parks Service and later created the Sierra Club.
  • The chief of forestry was _________________.

The Great Flood 1






  • Very little withstood the wave as it tore through Woodvale. Most of the town was reduced to mud flats. The destruction of the wire works released miles of barbed wire, adding to the terror of those caught in the flood.


  • Read Article
  • Summarize – 1-2 paragraphs
  • Write your opinion / thoughts on what happened. (1-2 paragraphs) Most points awarded here.
  • MLA Format


  • Video
  • Dam Disasters

Johnstown Flood RCC choose 1

  • Essay Topic 1 In what way is the time period to blame for the flood? What might have been different for the town had the flood occurred in a modern time period?
  • Essay Topic 2 Discuss the social class in Johnstown. What role did the wealthy play in the town? What about the poor?
  • Essay Topic 3 Discuss the role of the steel industry. What impact did they have on the progress of Johnstown? What connection did it have to the flood?

Answer this!

  • What did the Progressive era’s conservation groups focus on?
    • A. Efficiency of resources and land development
    • B. Eliminating general expansion
    • C. Sports like fishing and hunting
    • D. None of the above

Theodore Roosevelt’s Conservationist Accomplishments

  • Newland’s reclamation Act
  • Natural Parks
  • Nature Preserves
  • United States Forest Service
  • National Parks
  • 1906 Antiquities Act
  • First 51 Bird Reserves
  • 4 Game Preserves
  • 150 National Forests
  • An approximate total of 230,000,000 acres of land into preservation

New Deal

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933–45), like his cousin Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Used programs to end wasteful land-use, mitigate the effects of the Dust Bowl, and efficiently develop natural resources in the West.
  • Civilian Conservation Corps

Post 1945

  • After World War II increasing encroachment on wilderness land evoked the continued resistance of conservationists who succeeded in blocking a number of projects in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • In 1948 - The Inter-American Conference on the Conservation of Renewable Natural Resources met in 1948 as a collection of nearly 200 scientists from all over the Americans forming the trusteeship principle that:
  • "No generation can exclusively own the renewable resources by which it lives. We hold the commonwealth in trust for prosperity, and to lessen or destroy it is to commit treason against the future"

Beginning of the modern movement

  • During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, several events occurred which raised the public awareness of harm to the environment caused by man.
    • (1948) Donora Smog
    • 1954 Lucky Dragon
    • 1969 catastrophic oil spill
    • protest against nuclear testing
    • Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring
    • Paul R. Ehrlich's book The Population Bomb

Pictures of Earth from space emphasized that the earth was small and fragile.

  • That public support for environmental concerns was widespread became clear in the Earth Day demonstrations of 1970

Modern Movement

  • New awareness and concern about:
  • air pollution
  • water pollution
  • solid waste disposal
  • dwindling energy resources
  • radiation
  • pesticide poisoning
  • noise pollution
  • Earth Day demonstrations of 1970.

Wake up!

  • What did this photo represent ?
  • Earth as a closed system
  • Earth is large and dominant
  • Earth is not significant
  • Earth is small and fragile

Background - 1970’s

  • Explosion of environmental concern and laws addressing pollution.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established to create and enforce environmental regulations that protect citizens and the natural environment.

QUIZ Time!

  • Let’s see if you zoned out yet….
    • Why was the EPA established?
    • To watch out for the welfare of big industries.
    • To protect the natural urban environment.
    • To enforce environmental regulations.
    • To monitor watersheds for pollution.

Background - 1970’s

  • Explosion of environmental concern and laws addressing pollution.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established to create and enforce environmental regulations that protect citizens and the natural environment.


  • On July 9, 1970, citing rising concerns over environmental protection and conservation, President Richard Nixon by executive order to Congress, created the EPA. www.wikipedia.com
  • The EPA’s mission is simple:
  • “The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.” www.epa.gov

Environmental Pollutants

  • Agricultural Chemicals
  • Air Pollutants
  • Biological Contamination
  • Carcinogens
  • Chemicals
  • Microorganisms
  • Multimedia Pollutants
  • Ozone
  • Radiation
  • Soil Contamination
  • Toxic Substances
  • Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms
  • Prior to the establishment of the EPA, the federal government was not structured to comprehensively regulate environmental pollutants.

Summary (the point of all of this)

  • Environmental awareness was around before 1970 (remember Donora 1948) .
  • The EPA was created to regulate and oversee environmental protection and regulation.
  • Do fill in the blank worksheet to review your notes. YOU WILL NEED YOUR SKELETON OUTLINE – it contains the answers.
  • Video

Part II

  • Now that we’ve examined the history of the environmental movement we are prepared to examine some real cases of environmental hazard.
  • Take notes
  • Review notes


  • Which statement is the most correct?
  • A. Chemicals manufactured by humans are more dangerous to human health than naturally occurring chemicals.
  • B. Both natural and human-made chemicals are potentially toxic to humans.
  • C. Naturally occurring chemicals are more poisonous to humans than synthetic chemicals.


  • Both natural and human-made chemicals have the potential to harm humans.
  • Toxic chemicals can occur naturally. For example, rattlesnake poison and botulin are both naturally occurring chemicals that harm humans. Botulin is the toxin which causes food poisoning and is produced by bacteria.
  • Toxic chemicals can also be created by humans, for example, lead-based paints or pesticides such as DDT.


  • Define hazardous waste.
  • Video

SO What IS hazardous Waste?

  • Any discarded material containing substances known to be toxic, mutagenic, carcinogenic, or teratogenic to humans or other life-forms; ignitable, corrosive, explosive, or highly reactive alone or with other materials.

Break it down…

  • Toxic – poisonous
  • Mutagenic – capable of causing a change or mutation
  • Carcinogenic – capable of causing cancer
  • Teratogenic - agents that can interfere with normal embryonic development


  • Ignitable – can ignite or burn
  • Corrosive – able to corrode - destroying or eating away by chemical action
  • Explosive – can explode
  • Highly reactive – great chance of reaction or ready susceptibility to chemical change


  • READ the local story on Canonsburg.
  • Do the 10% paper

The Standard Chemical Company

Brief History

  • Standard Chemical Company (SCC) was the first successful large-scale commercial producer of radium.
  • Established in 1911 by Joseph M. Flannery and his brother, James J., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania businessmen

Standard Chemical Company

  • In 1909, a sister became ill with cancer. In a trip to Europe, Joseph Flannery learned that radium could treat the cancer but the supply was limited.
  • Joseph Flannery set out to develop a company to produce radium.

Suitable ore, carnotite, was found and extracted from mines mainly in southwestern Colorado.

  • Suitable ore, carnotite, was found and extracted from mines mainly in southwestern Colorado.
  • It traveled to three locations in Colorado before being loaded on a train and brought to Canonsburg.
  • In Canonsburg the reductions mill prepared the mixture for refining that took place in the
  • Vanadium Building on Forbes Avenue in the Oakland

Making Radium

  • To make a gram of radium required up to 500 tons of milling ore, 500 tons of chemicals, 10,000 tons of purified and distilled water and 100 tons of coal.
  • SCC’s price for radium was set at $120,000 per gram
  • Between 1913 and 1921 SCC produced about 75 to 80 grams.

Marie Curie

  • Marie Curie was invited to visit the United States in 1921 to receive a gift of 1 gram of radium from the Women of America presented by President Harding
  • On May 26 and 27, 1921, she was an honored guest at the Oakland and Canonsburg plants.

Canonsburg, the “Radium City”?..

  • Higher grade ore had been discovered in the Congo resulting in much lower production costs for the competing Belgian company using the ore, Union Miniere du Haut Katanga.
  • SCC ceased production of radium from its own ores (1922) then becoming an a sales agent for Union Miniere until 1927.

Vitro Corporation of America

  • Later, Vitro acquired the mill and processed ore to extract radium and uranium salts.
  • From 1942 – 1957, Vitro was under contract to the federal government to recover uranium from ore and scrap.
  • The site was then used as storage for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission until 1966.
  • In 1967 it was leased for light industrial use.

Vanadium Building, Oakland PA

  • SCC’s Canonsburg and Oakland sites were, of course, contaminated.
  • The Vanadium Building, later renamed the Flannery Building and today known as the Parkvale Building was the subject of several decontamination efforts.
  • In 2002, decontamination was successfully completed and the building released by the state for unrestricted use.

Canonsburg Site

  • Google Maps
  • The Canonsburg mill site was designated in the 1978 Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act as eligible for federal funds for clean up, the only uranium mill east of the Mississippi River so listed.
  • Under a $48 million cleanup, the mill site and 163 nearby properties in Canonsburg were remediated.

Canonsburg Site

  • The nearby properties were contaminated as a result of mill tailings from the SCC operation having been used as road and yard fill in Canonsburg.
  • Residual radioactivity was consolidated into a covered, clay-lined cell at the Canonsburg mill site that is fenced and posted and periodically monitored by the department of Energy and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Love Canal Case 1 2 -

  • Take notes on your emotion – what are you feeling and what is the trigger for that emotion.
  • Reflect on the situation

Summarize for us what happened.

  • Love Canal is a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York, which became the subject of national and international attention, controversy, and eventual environmental notoriety following the discovery of 21,000 tons of toxic waste that had been buried beneath the neighborhood by Hooker Chemical.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Canal


  • Between 1974-1978 , 54% of the babies born in the area had at least 1 birth defect!
  • …. 30 years later

What debate?

  • At first, scientific studies did not conclusively prove that the chemicals were responsible for the residents' illnesses, and scientists were divided on the issue, even though eleven known or suspected carcinogens had been identified, one of the most prevalent being benzene.
  • There was also dioxin (polychlorinated dibenzodioxins) in the water, a very hazardous substance. Dioxin pollution is usually measured in parts per trillion; at Love Canal, water samples showed dioxin levels of 53 parts per billion.
  • Geologists were recruited to determine whether underground swales were responsible for carrying the chemicals to the surrounding residential areas. Once there, they explained, chemicals could leach into basements and evaporate into household air.


  • These days does it sound like a good idea to spray oil on the roads to hold dust down?
  • When Russell Bliss (owner of waste oil company) was defending himself what did he say?
  • Reflect on the situation


  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Responding to public concern over 'midnight dumping' of toxic wastes, Congress establishes authority for controls over hazardous waste from generation to disposal under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).


  • Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Congress enacts the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which provides EPA with authority to protect public health and the environment through controls on toxic chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk of injury.


  • A series of chemical reactions that ignite a large chemical-waste treatment facility in Bridgeport, New Jersey
  • A spark from a welder's torch touches off a series of chemical reactions that ignite a large chemical-waste treatment facility in Bridgeport, New Jersey, leaving six dead and hospitalizing 35. It is reported that, 'the raging fire propels waste drums through the air and blankets the city in a funnel of black smoke that reaches hundreds of feet into the sky.'


  • State of Emergency at Love Canal, New York
  • President Carter declares a State of Emergency at Love Canal, New York, after a startling increase in skin rashes, miscarriages, and birth defects. Love Canal heightens public awareness of the grave and imminent perils of unregulated hazardous waste dumping in communities.


  • House and Senate committees hold extensive hearings on the dangers posed by toxic waste dumps
  • House and Senate committees hold extensive hearings on the dangers posed by toxic waste dumps and major bills are introduced to create a 'superfund' for dealing with these dangers in both houses of Congress.


  • Toxic waste bursts into flames at a waste storage facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • Toxic waste bursts into flames at a waste storage facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey, sending a thick black plume of smoke and ash over a 15-mile area and raising fears of widespread chemical contamination. The fire burns for 10 hours as State officials issue an environmental advisory closing schools and urging residents to close all doors and windows and remain indoors.


  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund)
  • Congress passes the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) toaddress the dangers of abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste dumps by developing a nationwide program for: emergency response; information gathering and analysis; liability for responsible parties; and site cleanup. CERCLA also creates a Trust Fund (or 'Superfund') to finance emergency responses and cleanups.


  • Superfund successfully responds to the 'Valley of the Drums' site in Kentucky
  • Superfund successfully responds to the 'Valley of the Drums' site in Kentucky, drawing national attention as EPA acts on behalf of public safety by removing over 4,000 drums and installing protective measures.


  • Birth of the environmental justice movement
  • A landfill protest in Warren County, North Carolina, raises new concerns over the unequal distribution of environmental threats in disadvantaged and minority communities, fostering the birth of the environmental justice movement.


  • Relocation of more than 500 residents of Times Beach, Missouri
  • EPA permanently relocates more than 500 residents of the town of Times Beach, Missouri, because of widespread dioxin contamination


  • These sites lead to the creation of the SUPERFUND program established to address sites like these and that holds polluters accountable for their damages.
  • Established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), a byproduct of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA 1979)
  • It allows the EPA to clean up such sites and to compel responsible parties to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-lead cleanups. www.EPA.GOV


  • The responsibilities of the Superfund program are to:
  • Determine the number of sites where potentially significant contamination existed;
  • Assess who was responsible for the waste;
  • Develop a structure to enforce CERCLA;
  • Determine the contaminants and quantities dumped;
  • Research where the contaminants were coming from;
  • Calculate the actual human exposure to contaminants and the potential health risks; and
  • Create technologies to remove or control contaminants.

SO What IS hazardous Waste?

  • One of the items below is a hazardous substance. Four are sources of a hazardous substances. Which one is a hazardous substance?
  • A. clogged furnace
  • B. cigarette
  • C. a dog
  • D. paint applied before 1978
  • E. dust mite parts

Local Sites

  • There are no listed SUPERFUND sites in Greene Co.
  • I did discover one in Denbo , PA – where friends and I used to swim!

Hazardous Waste Worksheet

  • Read case study Issues #15
  • Answer questions
  • HOMEWORK – this will be graded and used as your first major grade of

Add all the laws and acts here


  • Ideas Box – look at the items in your tables box – These items are seemingly unconnected so its now YOUR job to make the connection and discuss the possibilities to see if you and your partner can figure out what the connection is.

What is the connection?

  • All of the products in the connections box contain chemicals that are toxic.
  • Some of the chemicals are obvious health risks, some are not as evident.
  • Brainstorm with your neighbor and complete the ‘What I know / What I want to know’ information sheet and be prepared to discuss your results.

Toxic substance in your home…

  • Video
  • So… if you can find all of these products in your home… where do they go when you are finished with them?

Ponder this … then answer and explain why.

  • Which would you prefer to drink – a cup of caffeine or a cup of trichloroethylene?

Read and highlight Text Materials

  • Use the note taking sheets to compile the information that you find to be important to understanding the text.
  • We will review some of the key points in the text but you are responsible to “get it.”

Questions for DISCUSSION

  • Homes are full of products that are designed to make life easier – like if your couch is smelly – just spray some Frebeeze on it, or if your hair is naturally curly you can straighten it with chemicals, or if your grass wont grow you can put some chemlawn on it…
  • The list goes on and on- what are some other things we use to make life easier?

Q: Where does this stuff go?

  • A. Magical cleaner fairies pick it up when your finished.
  • B. It vaporizes into thin air.
  • C. They become pollutants when thrown in the trash (in many cases before that).

Q: How much waste does each person throw away in a day?

  • 1 lb./day (365 lbs./year)
  • 2 lbs. / day (730 lbs./year)
  • 3 lbs./day (1,095 lbs./year)
  • 4lbs./day (1,460 lbs./year)


  • America throws away more trash than any other nation in the world.
  • On average each person throws away 4lbs. of garbage a day…
  • That is almost 160 million TONS
  • Or…320,000,000,000 pounds of garbage a year produced in the USA.

The Garbage

  • The waste we dispose of now did not exist 50 -100 years ago…
  • What kind of wastes can be hazardous? Brainstorm with your partner (3minutes)
  • These wastes often are not disposed of properly and are thrown onto the land or into storm sewers.
  • These are called OPEN DUMPS …

Toxics in the home

  • There are approximately 3 – 10 gallons of potentially harmful materials in the home…
  • What kind of wastes can be hazardous?
  • Take 3 minutes to list as many potentially harmful substances that can be found in your home (prize for the most).

Now we know we use potentially hazardous products in the home…

  • So – where do they go ?
  • How does that effect the environment?
  • Are there alternatives?

Please explain how to clean a bathtub.

  • How does this chemical waste get into surface water?
  • Do these materials break down or disappear when you use it?


  • As rain water percolates (Filter gradually through a porous surface or substance) through a landfill rotting garbage decomposes and forms a syrupy liquid called leachate.
  • AKA – Garbage Juice
  • This leachate seeps into the ground and contaminates groundwater.


  • Pollution that comes from an observable / known point.
  • “That POINT is the SOURCE of the pollution.”

SO what then is NON POINT Source pollution?

  • SO what then is NON POINT Source pollution?

NON POINT Source pollution

  • Pollution coming from many - sometimes indeterminate (unknown) sources.

People can reduce non point source pollution…

  • By the 3 R’s
  • Substitution
  • In this lesson project you will be closely examining household product use, pollution potential, and alternatives to potentially harmful products.


  • Your assignment is to:
    • Divide into teams of 2 or 3
    • Use table 1 & 2 on worksheets to decipher the code for the symbols used to represent the types of pollutants associated with the numbered household sites)
    • Finish table 1 and consider how to reduce this pollution
      • What current practice contribute to nonpoint pollution?
      • How can we reduce the pollution?


  • In 4 minutes make a list of all the household products you use that may contribute to nonpoint source pollution.
  • Best list get a prize!

Day 2 – Using your worksheet…

  • Today we are going to review your worksheets – get them out I will be around to check them…(keep them for your packet to turn in at the end of the week).
  • Use board to review

Bell work Q Pick one to answer

  • Explain the difference between POINT sources and NON POINT source pollution.
  • How much garbage (in lbs. or tons) does America produce in 1 year?
  • 5 points


  • Your assignment is to do a home inventory using the worksheet.
  • You will be assigned a focus area of the home to investigate – but you may add from other areas.
  • Read and review directions – this is due tomorrow for a MAJOR grade and portion of your project.

Review Q’s 2-7-11

  • Compare and contrast point source and non point source pollution.
  • How do the toxic chemicals that everyone uses in their home make their way to the environment?
  • Describe what you would do if a toxic chemical waste dump moved into your neighborhood. What are some things you would want to know?

Home Inventory PART II

  • Choose 3 products from your list and begin to complete the chart using DATA Table 3 and computers if you need.
  • Complete the discussion questions on the next page – as completely as possible. They Are DISCUSSION questions – some have no right or wrong but will be used for discussion.
  • Finish for HW


  • Choose one product from your list of household pollutants.
  • You will be investigating the chemical contents of this product to prepare a warning brochure – and also researching some alternative equivalents for the product that are less threatening.
  • YOU do not need to bring the product to school.

The dose makes the poison

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