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Open Access Is Abyssal Seafloor Isolation an Environmentally Sound Waste Management Option?

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This paper discusses the waste disposal concept of environmentally isolating industrial wastes (i.e., sewage sludge, fly ash from municipal incinerators, and dredged material) on the abyssal seafloor. Environmental acceptability of this concept is compared with alternative oceanic waste management concepts of containment and dispersion. Dredged material, containing contaminants with high particle affinities enabling potential toxins to be readily sorbed to sediment and be buried within the seabed, is ideally suited for abyssal seafloor isolation. Sewage sludge, with low bulk densities, is better suited for disposal by dispersion. Fly ash, containing high levels of heavy metals which can be mobilised under certain redox conditions, is a poor candidate for ocean disposal.

Document Type: Miscellaneous


Publication date: September 1, 1997

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