The role of Virginia localities in hazardous waste management

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The handling of hazardous wastes -- their transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal -- has become a significant public issue in Virginia and the nation. The results of mismanagement of these wastes have prompted the passage of governmental regulations to reduce the risks to public health and the environment. However, regulation has taken place primarily at the federal and state levels of government, leaving the proper role of local governments ill-defined.

Citizens, concerned that current regulations may be inadequate or poorly administered, have encouraged localities to adopt generally negative positions toward both public and private hazardous waste management activities.

This paper evaluates the issues involved, the current role of local governments in hazardous waste management, both in Virginia and nationwide, and suggests that localities should carefully evaluate more positive local hazardous waste management options. Based on criteria developed in the paper, several options are suggested for consideration.