A Hazardous Data Explosion

by Neno Duplancic, (M.ASCE), Dir.; Site Operations and Engineering, International Technology Corp., Martinez, CA,
Gregory Buckle, Project Manager; International Technology Corp., Martinez, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 12, Pg. 68-70

Document Type: Feature article


During the 1980s, public concern and government regulations have spawned the huge hazardous waste management industry. But the industry has opened a Pandora's box for site engineers, most notably concerning the site characterization process. As the decade draws to a close, billions of dollars have been spent, but few sites have been cleaned up. Engineers are forced to work on site with chemistry and biology experts. Attorneys are around, reminding the engineers of their liability factor. Under this pressure, engineers try to eliminate all uncertainty in a site analysis (which is impossible) and they conduct test after test at the site. The result: a data explosion. Site characterization has evolved from dams and buildings, to offshore drilling sites, to nuclear plants, and now at hazardous waste sites. More borings and samples are now taken, but it does not correlate with the risk factor. Automation and a partial return to the classic observation method may be a remedy.

Subject Headings: Disasters and hazards | Explosions

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