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The Decline in Mercury Emissions From Solid Waste Management

[+] Author Affiliations
Ric Erdheim

National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Rosslyn, VA

Paper No. NAWTEC11-1674, pp. 83-91; 9 pages
  • 11th North American Waste-to-Energy Conference
  • 11th Annual North American Waste-to-Energy Conference
  • Tampa, Florida, USA, April 28–30, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: Solid Waste Processing Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3665-7
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


Mercury pollution is a growing health and environmental concern. The 1997 EPA Mercury Report to Congress identified mercury emissions from solid waste combustors as causing 1/3 of all emissions in the US. The report attributed smaller amounts to emissions from landfill and product breakage. Some states are targeting solid waste management for regulatory action. Mercury use in products has declined by 90% since 1980. The electrical industry has been at the forefront of this decline. Incinerator companies have successfully implemented the requirements for mercury emission controls required by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. As a result, there has been a substantial reduction of mercury emissions from solid waste combustors and these combustors are now a very small source of mercury emissions. This and other actions are resulting in demonstrable declines of mercury in the environment. Proposed state action inappropriately still targets the solid waste system as a source of mercury and consists of programs that are not cost-effective and that have no priorities. The advancements have largely taken place. Industry needs to document and disseminate its achievements. Industry also should foster cost-effective efforts to enhance existing achievements.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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