Michael Simpson, MS
Department of Environmental Studies
Hazardous waste generated by small business and households is often disposed of through backyard dumping, on-site septic systems and use of unlined landfills threatening private wells and groundwater resources. In Windham County, Vermont, the primary source of drinking water is groundwater and the unregulated hazardous waste stream may threaten this valuable resource. Using raw survey data, the following document quantifies and characterizes the unregulated hazardous waste stream from small businesses and the disposal pathways used in Windham County, Vermont. Similar information is presented on households in Windham County using national and regional data from literature. The combined information on disposal pathways is then used to determine the potential impact on the County's groundwater resources. The environmental costs and potential liabilities of no management program are discussed to enable a value to be placed on the potential benefits of a management program. Understanding the management costs and potential environmental benefits enables policy makers to compare the value of managing unregulated hazardous waste against the value of managing other threats to groundwater resources.