Arsenic and Landfills: Protecting Water Quality

Boston, MA

October 3, 2006

The University of Arizona SBRP hosted a workshop entitled: "Arsenic and Landfills: Protecting Water Quality" in Boston, Massachusetts, October 3-4, 2006. This workshop is a result of an on-going, collaborative effort between the US-EPA, ATSDR, NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program and academia to evaluate the issues surrounding arsenic removal from drinking water, and the relationship between arsenic mobilization, landfills and waste sites (Click here to view summary of the previous workshop).

Motivation:

Recent research has identified a number of potential and current links between environmental arsenic releases and the management of operational and abandoned landfills. Many landfills will receive an increasing arsenic load due to the disposal of arsenic-bearing solid residuals (ABSR) from drinking water treatment processes and chromated-copper-arsenate (CCA) treated timber from construction demolition. Simultaneously, there is a growing body of research indicating that arsenic will be released over time from these wastes under normal municipal solid waste landfill conditions. In addition, arsenic is a common constituent of many natural iron-bearing soils and sediments or may accumulate in them. Recent research indicates that if these soils are impacted by high organic, landfill leachate plumes, they may release the arsenic into the surrounding groundwater.

Objective:

The objective of the workshop was to review and disseminate the latest findings regarding the association between arsenic release and landfill management, and potential human health impact. The workshop provided a two-way communication forum in which knowledge and experience regarding the arsenic-landfills relationship was exchanged.

Summary:

The workshop covered information relevant to private citizens; municipal and regional authorities; government officials; water, wastewater and solid waste utility personnel; and businesses involved with arsenic remediation technologies. A series of talks were presented which summarized new research and operational concepts, as well as a discussion of priorities, knowledge gaps and uncertainties identified by resource managers and others directly impacted by these issues. The specific session topics were:
• Recent advances in arsenic health studies
• Arsenic removal and residuals management from water supplies
• Sources and potential impacts of an increasing burden of arsenic wastes going to landfills
• Arsenic releases from natural sources associated with old landfill remediation
• Current regulatory and management strategies for dealing with arsenic wastes and landfills

Funding:

Funding for this workshop was provided by the NIEHS SBRP.