Problem Definition

The sources and causes of waste generation should be well understood before option generation begins. A preassess-ment area inspection helps an assessment team understand the processes that generate pollution. Table 3.2.2 presents guidelines for such a site inspection. The assessment team should follow the process from the point where raw material enters the area to the point where the products and waste leave the area.

Determining the true source of the waste stream before the option generation part of the assessment phase is important. Impurities from an upstream process, poor process control, and other factors may combine to contribute to waste. Unless these sources are identified and their relative importance established, option generation can focus on a piece of equipment that emits the waste stream and may only produce a small part of the waste. As Figure 3.2.4 shows, the waste stream has four sources. Two of these sources are responsible for about 97% of the waste. However, because these sources were not identified beforehand, roughly equal numbers of options address all four sources. Fortunately, the causes of the waste stream were understood before the assessment was complete. But knowing the major sources of the waste beforehand would have saved time by allowing members to concentrate on them.

Several tools can help identify the source of the waste. A material balance is a good starting point. A cause-and-effect fishbone diagram, such as shown in Figure 3.2.4, can identify the sources of the waste and indicate where to look for reductions. Sampling to identify components

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