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ENVR 1401 Summer 2017 Test 4 Answer the following thoroughly (30 points each). Additionally, watch the Frontline video “Poisoned Waters” (www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/poisonedwaters/) and complete the questions in the attached assignment (10 points).

Please type your answers (single spacing)- handwritten answers will not be accepted. You may consult the text, lab materials, and your notes. You may also consult your peers, however, the answers you provide should be your own. Please keep your answers concise (but complete). Please label your answers a, b, c for each question so that your answers clearly answer the question asked.

1. You are hired by the state to determine the safe limit in Goose Creek for a newly identified, unnamed contaminant. Unfortunately, there is not very much information on this chemical; authorities aren’t even sure if it is dangerous.

a. How would you determine whether this chemical is dangerous to biologic organisms (lethal and effects dosages)?

b. Name three things you need to know to determine the probability of risk for the local population considering the creek is used for fishing, boating, and recreation?

c. You discover that this chemical is both a point and non-point source pollutant. Does this complicate how you might manage the risk this pollutant poses in the environment? Why?

2. Read the article, “Water Works” (Nature Conservancy, 2012).

a. From a risk assessment standpoint, what is the greatest risk to water quality to central Texas?

b. Considering the article and the film “Poisoned Waters”, why is land use like suburban development and increased hard surface like concrete and asphalt raise the risk of contamination?

c. What risk management options might you recommend to tackle the risk you identify in 2a? (Include at least two specific ideas, ranked according to relative cost and ease of implementation-try to be realistic in your assessment and consider options you have learned about in class.)

3. You are the head of the Harris County Health Department, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has informed you that as a result of failing to meet EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for tropospheric ozone, Harris County must implement a plan to reduce this contaminant (or face a several million-dollar fine). As you are aware, Harris County is a mix of urban, rural, and industrial areas, and home to more that 4.5 million people, numerous coal-fired power plants, a number of factories and refineries (with advanced pollution control systems in place), and a somewhat limited public transportation system.

a. Is ozone a primary or secondary air pollutant? What is the current 8-hour standard for ozone?

b. If the 8-hour standard is exceeded, does this represent a significant risk? Why or why not?

c. What two air contaminants in the Houston area would you target in order to reduce ozone levels? What steps would you recommend the county  government take to meet the required air quality standards? Be specific, and list at least two steps for reductions.


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