Master of Environmental Assessment Professional Papers

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  • Estimating Alveolar Ventilation for Use in Physiological-based Exposure Models
    (2023) Robertson, Hayden
    The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) utilizes the Air Pollutants Exposure (APEX) model to estimate exposure to criteria air pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), to inform the setting of air quality standards (e.g., US EPA, 2010). The data for estimating alveolar ventilation rates (𝑉 ̇𝐴) in this model used for modeling CO exposures and dose was last updated over 20 years ago and could benefit from additional information extracted from new studies as well as performing additional data analysis. Specifically, the existing constant value used in the equation to estimate 𝑉 ̇𝐴, 19.63, has been raised by public reviewers of the most recent CO human health risk and exposure assessment as potentially limited in its applicability, particularly at when simulated individuals are high breathing rates (US EPA, 2011). This new study was conducted to increase our knowledgebase of the physiological aspects of ventilation and to further develop an internal alveolar ventilation database that could be used to either support the existing quantitative linear relationship or, where possible, improve the algorithm. This evaluation also explored the relationship of how alveolar ventilation with might be affected by key demographic attributes such as body mass, age, and sex. Two approaches were explored to estimate 𝑉 ̇𝐴 and are linked to key respiratory variables already modeled by APEX. The first, used a direct relationship between 𝑉 ̇𝐴 and oxygen consumption rates (𝑉 ̇𝑂2). The second used the relationship of dead space to tidal volume (VD/VT) to 𝑉 ̇𝑂2 and expected to be used with total ventilation rate (𝑉 ̇𝐸) to indirectly estimate 𝑉 ̇𝐴. This study increased the amount of useful data within the internal database by over two-fold, albeit sample size limitations for important population groups remain an issue (e.g., adults > 35 years old). New data analyses using the updated database suggest a linear relationship between 𝑉 ̇𝐴 and 𝑉 ̇𝑂2 appears appropriate across all population groups and breathing rates, while differences in the VD/VT to 𝑉 ̇𝑂2 relationship across 3 population groups suggests adoption of this latter approach is less likely due to the sample size issues. It is hoped study results assist in the development of a newly refined algorithm to for estimating CO exposure and dose estimations, reduce uncertainties in exposure models that would use such an approach, and provide sound support to air quality regulations.
  • Expanding the Conservation Reserve Program to Promote Habitat Conservation at Hazardous Waste Cleanup Sites: A Feasibility Study
    (2023) Hooper-Attig, Brooke
    Remediation of former hazardous waste sites generates a new opportunity for lands contaminated with regulated hazardous waste. Many sites across the United States are remediated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Program with a primary focus to eliminate human health and ecological risks associated with the improper handling, disposal, and/or treatment of hazardous waste and find a beneficial reuse for the site. The primary focus of this study examines the potential reuse of a remediated corrective action site through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The study considered two outcomes, (1) converting a remediated corrective action site to pollinator habitat under the CRP framework would benefit both the site owner and surrounding ecosystem and (2) that the cost associated with pollinator habitat development would outweigh the financial incentives of the CRP lease. The study site is located in southern Missouri, with corrective action now in post-closure care; however, site use restrictions remain in place due to soil “hot spots” throughout the site. The site use restrictions have made resale of the site difficult for the current owner and limits redevelopment opportunities. This study examined converting selected acreage into a conservation resource under the framework established USDA CRP. CRP enrollment is currently limited to privately owned agricultural land, where landowners receive a payment incentive in the form of a lease payment to convert previously cropped land into non-cropped conservation land. Specifically, this study explored enrollment opportunity under the Continuous CRP for establishing pollinator and wildlife habitat. The feasibility of expanding the CRP to include corrective action sites is explored in the form of a financial analysis. The study found that the financial benefit to the current landowner is significant and there is potential to establish over 200-acres of new pollinator and wildlife habitat on a parcel of land that currently provides limited economic and environmental benefit.
  • Estuarine Shoreline Stabilization Methods in Coastal North Carolina: a Case Study Analysis of Coastal Resiliency
    (2023) Karcher, Tyler J.
    Coastal North Carolina estuaries provide countless environmental and economic benefits to the state of North Carolina. These valuable ecosystems along the coast are very diverse in nature and are home to thousands of different species that attract much of the state’s tourism industry and provide an important resource to local economies. With recent pressures on these estuaries from increasing development and boat traffic in coastal communities, combined with more frequent and intense storm systems driven by climate change, a focus on coastal resiliency is at the forefront in our state. The push towards long term coastal resiliency planning in North Carolina has been fostered through partnerships and programs implemented by non- profit foundations, local, state, and federal governments, and other organizations, with the goal of protecting and enhancing the countless benefits that these estuaries provide. To better analyze the current methods and practices being implemented in our coastal communities as a foundation in North Carolina’s coastal resiliency efforts, pre- and post-storm observations from existing projects are evaluated and discussed. Evaluating the effectiveness of current coastal resiliency practices in North Carolina can provide an important role in future planning efforts for our coastal communities to reduce negative impacts from future storms.
  • Roadmap to Resilience: Implementing Federal Nature-Based Solutions Recommendations for Climate Resilience at Coastal North Carolina State Parks
    (2023) Farrell, Christine
    Coastal North Carolina is increasingly impacted by threats of climate change that are only going to intensify in the coming years. Sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion, and increases in temperatures, floods, droughts, and intense storm events are imminent threats to coastal NC State Parks. Nature-based solutions (NbS) provide a way to work with nature to improve ecosystem and community resilience to a changing climate. To help combat the climate change crisis and find solutions to an impending problem, the Biden-Harris administration released the “Opportunities for Accelerating Nature-Based Solutions: A Roadmap for Climate Progress, Thriving Nature, Equity, and Prosperity” in November 2022. The purpose of the administration’s Roadmap is to promote the use of NbS projects in federal climate resilience projects across the country. This paper will utilize the Roadmap as a template to advocate for increasing the use of NbS in coastal NC State Parks to improve climate resilience, as well as emphasize the urgent need for a climate resilience plan specific to the State Park System. Specifically, increasing the use of living shorelines and green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) as NbS techniques will be emphasized. Understanding and planning for landscape-scale changes due to present and future climate change impacts is crucial to the conservation, recreation, and operations of State Parks.
  • Building a More Resilient Raleigh, North Carolina: A site-suitability analysis to find locations to implement green infrastructure
    (2023) Powell, Jake
    Raleigh, NC has experienced substantial growth over the last ten years leading to more impervious features being part of the urban landscape. Additionally, the city continues to be impacted by climate change. Because of Raleigh’s population growth, urban development, and climate change issues more stress is put on the existing stormwater infrastructure. Green Infrastructure (GI) can be implemented to reduce the stress on the existing stormwater infrastructure by using various technologies and landscaping techniques. GI also provides social and economic benefits, so it is essential that GI is implemented equitably. An ArcGIS spatial analysis was conducted to find locations where GI is equitable and achieves the desired environmental impacts. To ensure the locations do not continue the misjustice of urban planning and benefit the environment, the Hoover and Hopton 2019 Framework was followed. Ultimately, this spatial analysis assists Raleigh’s efforts in creating an urban ecosystem that is more resilient to stormwater management issues in the future.
  • Pharmaceutical Excipients as a Proxy for Measuring Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: A Case Study with Polyethylene Glycol
    (2022-12) Barkley, Rachel
    BARKLEY, RACHEL AUSERMAN. Pharmaceutical Excipients as a Proxy for Measuring Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: A Case Study with Polyethylene Glycol (Under the direction of Dr. Tamara Pandolfo). Pharmaceutical waste presents a problem where industry’s production of pharmaceuticals and their waste are fast out-pacing the regulations around this waste. In the past, previous methods have framed the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) as the most important ingredient which must be assessed to determine environmental risk. Here, a proxy is investigated as a means of quantifying the waste which communities may detect in wastewater. Pharmaceutical excipients are much more prevalent across manufacturing and therefore would provide the early datasets needed to assess how widespread these APIs could be. The framework uses polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a case study for how to implement this framework.
  • A GIS analysis of agricultural runoff potential in Wayne County, NC.
    (2022-12) Mason, Cassidy
    MASON, CASSIDY RENA. A GIS analysis of agricultural runoff potential in Wayne County, NC. (Under the direction of Dr. Tamara Pandolfo). Wayne County, North Carolina is home to many row crop agriculture practices that rely on the Neuse River for fertile soils and water for irrigation. However, the water that flows off these agricultural areas from excess rainwater or irrigation can impact the quality of water flowing through the Neuse River. Agricultural runoff contains a variety of substances that can impact water health including pesticides, sediments, and excess nutrients. To determine areas where agricultural runoff has the most potential to impact the Neuse River water quality, a GIS analysis was conducted using a weighted sum calculation. An area with high potential for runoff was considered as such if the area was used for row crop agriculture, had a high slope percentage, and a fine soil texture. Wayne County consisted of 44.7% cultivated row crop land at the time the land classification was completed in 2016. The study area had an average slope of 1.42% with soils consisting of 46% loamy sand, 34% sandy loam, and 11% loam. This study concluded that only 2.6%, or 4219.8 acres, of row crop land in Wayne County, NC has a high potential to form agricultural runoff. Runoff management strategies are vital in preventing runoff legacy effects on water quality. Deep fertilizer placement and controlled-release fertilizers have been shown to reduce the amount of nutrient loading to water systems. Sediment transportation can be prevented and reduced by tillage strategies including conservation tillage, such as no-till and reduced tillage, and rotational tillage. These strategies reduce soil disturbances and cause less erosion and runoff of loose sediments. Water quality of the Neuse River must still be monitored even if runoff management strategies are implemented to ensure continued water health.
  • Blood Lead Levels in Construction Workers Performing Lead Abatement
    (2022-12) Moran, Patrick
    MORAN, PATRICK. Blood Lead Levels in Construction Workers Performing Lead Abatement. (Under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Richmond-Bryant). Lead abatement is a common practice in the construction industry. However, the job task generates airborne particulate lead, creating a potential workplace hazard exposure for workers if not managed properly. This exposure can cause severe acute and chronic illnesses. Entry and exit blood lead levels (BLLs) are required for all abatement workers under medical surveillance in OSHA § 1910.1025 Appendix C. BLLs can be used as a measurement of a worker’s exposure. The change from entry to exit BLLs can be analyzed in different project settings, abatement methods, engineering controls, and job trades to help determine best practices in mitigating a worker’s exposure. The Sen et al. (2002), Sokas et al. (1997), Levin et al. (1998), and Reynolds et al. (1999) studies all used different abatement methods for different abatement projects. Sen et al. (2002) analyzed scaffolders who performed mobilization/ demobilization erecting scaffolds in and around the containment while abrasive blasting was being performed. Sokas et al. (1997) studied crews who performed demolition and burning lead abatement versus workers who never performed demolition and burning lead abatement. Levin et al. (1998) compared BLL for iron workers on a bridge rehabilitation project in New York between the years 1993 and 1994 performing needle gunning and pneumatic chipping. Reynolds et al. (1999) compared the changes of BLL in construction workers in Iowa and Illinois across several different job occupations of laborers, painters, welders, and ironworkers. The findings of all four articles discovered that scaffold workers who were not performing active abatement tasks, such as mobilization and demobilization, could still have elevated BLL when working with containments or working in close proximity without necessary PPE. These four studies have unique abatement tasks and different engineering controls, despite there being increased BLL across tasks. Additionally, three abatement projects in 2018-2020 in New York (Manhattan Subway Project, Yonkers Pump Station Wastewater Treatment Project, and Hastings-On-Hudson Bridge Project) also used different abatement methods for different projects. All three projects also exhibited workers having varied increased BLLs. Abrasive blasting, needle gunning, plasma cutting, lead tape removal, mobilization/demobilization, and vacuuming were the tasks performed at the projects. The needle gunning, plasma cutting, lead tape removal, and mobilization/demobilization had the lowest BLL while abrasive blasting and vacuuming had the highest BLL. A literature review of the four articles was performed and each article had unique conditions and different abatement methods, similar to the three projects having different conditions and abatement methods. The data from the articles were compared to the data in the three projects. Based on findings presented in Sen et al. (2002), Sokas et al. (1997), Levin et al. (1998), and Reynolds et al. (1999) and the results from three abatement projects, workers’ risk of exposure exists regardless of abatement method but can be better managed by understanding which abatement methods and engineering controls should be used as best practice.
  • PM2.5-induced Cardiovascular Health Effects and Potential Therapeutic Mechanisms of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation: A Scoping Review
    (2022-12) Hunt, Kirstin
    Hunt, Kirstin Lynn. PM2.5-induced Cardiovascular Health Effects and Potential Therapeutic Mechanisms of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation: A Scoping Review (Under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Richmond-Bryant). Recent studies have found that long-term exposure to air pollution, especially particulate matter (PM), was associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The peer-reviewed literature has shown that short-term exposure to PM2.5 (PM < 2.5 μm) can cause adverse cardiovascular effects and mortality. The mechanisms by which PM2.5 can initiate adverse cardiovascular health effects are still being investigated, but evidence suggests that inflammation, oxidative stress, and modulation of the cardiac autonomic nervous system (ANS) play a prominent role in vascular and endothelial dysfunction. Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids (O3FAs), including fish oil, have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease through anti-inflammatory and antioxidant mechanisms. Growing scientific evidence suggests supplementation with O3FAs, including fish oils, could protect against the adverse effects of PM2.5. This scoping review aims to highlight the current scientific studies purporting that O3FA supplementation can mitigate the adverse effects of PM2.5. An initial search of PubMed and Web of Science was conducted on January 31, 2021, with no date or location restrictions. A constraint included only papers published in English. The author supplemented this by searching reference lists of articles and performing a grey literature search on Google Scholar. Eligibility criteria were defined by a Population Exposure Comparison Outcome (PECO) statement to develop the study question and to aid in the selection process. The PECO framework included populations of human, animal, and in vitro systems with exposures to PM, PM2.5, PM10-2.5, concentrated ambient PM, diesel particulate matter, and black carbon. Comparison populations were supplemented with O3FAs or fish oil, but not limited to combinations with other supplements. Outcomes included cardiovascular diseases, vascular effects, and endothelial function. Twelve studies were identified that met the eligibility criteria. Eleven of the 12 studies observed protective cardiovascular health benefits from supplementation with O3FAs after PM2.5 exposure, including reduced inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers. However, one study found that olive oil supplements improved endothelial function instead of fish oil. This review did not compare the studies' supplementation dosage of O3FAs or fish oil. Further research is needed to address the supplementation of fish oil to determine the optimum dosage for protection. This review suggests supplementation with O3FAs could be a cost-effective way to protect against cardiovascular injury due to PM2.5 exposure.
  • Evaluating Temporal Trends of Ambient Air Quality in Charlotte, North Carolina as a Southeastern Boomtown
    (2022-12) Sundermeyer, Chelly
    SUNDERMEYER, CHELLY LEE. Evaluating Temporal Trends of Ambient Air Quality in Charlotte, North Carolina as a Southeastern Boomtown. (Under the direction of Dr. Stephen Graham). Ambient air is the air breathed outdoors and can enter indoor environments unaltered. Poor air quality is responsible for adverse health effects and well-being. To protect and improve ambient air quality across the United States, the federal government establishes legislative requirements to control pollutants that contribute to poor air quality. The Clean Air Act requires the United States Environmental Protection Agency to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six criteria air pollutants that can be harmful to public health and the environment: carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter (PM2.5/PM10), and sulfur dioxide. Charlotte is a city in the southwest region of North Carolina and one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Charlotte has seen a 60% growth in population in the last decade. Charlotte is potentially facing air quality challenges from its growing population and economy. As in many large cities, Charlotte’s unhealthy air quality is driven by ozone and particulate matter from mobile and stationary emission sources. The construction of new inroads and the growth of nearby/regional supply and demand chains have pushed the area to serve as a significant east coast trucking and freight transportation hub. In this study, Charlotte was evaluated for patterns and trends in ambient air quality occurring over the past 40 years related to changes in population, emissions sources, and energy consumption. Ambient air concentration data for criteria gases, particulates, and lead were compiled to evaluate historical ambient air quality monitoring in Charlotte. County population estimates, state and county emission sources, and state energy consumption data were collected to evaluate relationships between ambient air concentrations and these variables. Fuel sources were shown to impact air quality in Charlotte. Fossil fuels are the top sources of total energy consumed in North Carolina. All petroleum, coal, ii and natural gas represent these fossil fuels. All petroleum is the major energy source contributor at an average over 748,031 BBtu annually. The top six petroleum energy sources are asphalt/road oil, distillate fuel oil, hydrocarbon gas liquids, kerosene, motor gasoline, and residual fuel oil. Motor gasoline is the top energy source consumed over 414,318 BBtu annually. The top emissions sources for most criteria air pollutants were motor gasoline and diesel. Charlotte carbon monoxide 8-hour and 1-hour daily maximum concentrations are substantially reduced in the past 20 years and remained below the NAAQS. Lead’s rolling three-month average concentrations were highest in 1982 at approximately 0.83 μg/m3, declined sharply, and remained negligible for the rest of the study. Nitrogen dioxide daily maximum 1-hour concentrations have remained below the 100 ppb primary NAAQS. Annual mean concentrations are below 53 ppb but, as of 2021, have a slight uptick. Ozone daily maximum 8-hour concentrations were well above 0.070 ppm from 1980-2012, dipping slightly in 2013 and, as of 2019, show an upward trend. PM2.5 short-term annual mean concentrations were above 12.0 μg/m3 from 1999-2007 and have declined. Daily maximum 24-hour concentrations have remained slightly below the NAAQS; however, as of 2020, appear to be trending upward. PM10 daily maximum 24-hour concentrations have remained below the NAAQS since 1999. Sulfur dioxide daily maximum 1-hour concentrations have remained below the NAAQS after 2006 and shows a downward trend. Charlotte continues to improve air quality by regulating industry through administering county, state, and federal regulatory programs and advising the community through education and special programs. Results presented here were based on population, emissions, and energy consumption datasets obtained from the county and state levels with ambient air quality monitors exclusive to the city. Population, emissions, and energy consumption results are assumed to temporally affect the city of Charlotte.
  • Urban Agriculture: Evaluation and Assessment of Urban Farming and Food Production in Raleigh, N.C.
    (2022-11) Houck, Elizabeth
    Food production has shaped the American landscape and the environment beginning with the early native populations and expanding in scale with the first settlers. Along with shelter, the most important necessity for sustaining life is a source of food and water. In the past, tribes and communities moved across the landscape in the search of food, whether it was to hunt with animal migration patterns or gather seasonal fruits, berries, and nuts. This type of forage enabled diversity of food in the diet and allowed food sources to be sustainable and accessible. As populations grew and families migrated to other territories, the demand for staple and livestock feeder crops, such as corn and wheat, created development of mono-culture cropland environments and in areas that were un-sustainable for reliable growth without large irrigation systems. These corporate food production operations replaced family-run farms. A quote from an urban gardener in Atlanta “Those who control the food, control you” places the reality of our current food production and distribution methods into question. Food shortages occur when natural weather conditions due to climate change factors affect the distribution, production, and human interventions of the supply chain. Limited market locations and increased prices reduce availability of healthy foods in communities. Food deserts and food refugees are the result when disturbance to food distribution chains and resource scarcity occur. There has been a widening gap between food supply and demand in developed and developing countries. The demand for food, energy and water has increased and they are strongly interlinked. This report will provide an overview of the benefits and limitations of urban farming technologies which provide food to communities in urban areas or areas with disproportionate access to food. The types of innovative urban food production methods will be compared including design considerations, community relationships, investment and infrastructure, location requirements for accessibility and potential environmental effects. The goal of urban farming is to make cities and communities more resilient and less dependent on outside resources for food. Evaluations of existing urban gardening projects in Raleigh, North Carolina, will be included in this report documenting community involvement, production, distribution and space availability and other successful community gardening projects. There should be an understanding of planning policies and opportunities in the community. Existing data from the impacts to food security, water management, biodiversity, economic and environment advantages for planning and investment in the community are to be documented annually for continued financial and community support. Important steps for the development of urban farming include gaining support from local businesses and governments that may provide incentives to help local economics, social systems, and communities with the unifying attributes of urban agricultural oriented projects. This assessment of innovative agriculture examples and designs may supply the guide to help urban planning and city leaders to understand the diverse goals for urban food production projects in the community.
  • Charlotte Police and Fire Training Academy: potential perand polyfluorinated alkyl substances remedial alternatives
    (2022-07) Libbey, Stephen
    LIBBEY, STEPHEN RICHARD. Charlotte Police and Fire Training Academy: potential perand polyfluorinated alkyl substances remedial alternatives (Under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Richmond-Bryant). Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) have been used since the 1940s in many industry products as surfactants and in consumer products as water and oil repellents. Due to their widespread use, PFAS have been detected in environmental compartments and humans. Human exposure to PFAS has been associated with a variety of diseases and cancers. Currently, regulatory groundwater standards only exist for a few select PFAS compounds. Cleanup of PFAS impacted sites can be an expensive and long-term process due to their persistence in the environment. Impacts of PFAS on soil and groundwater have been associated with historical use of aqueous film-forming firefighting foams (AFFF), which have been identified at a municipal fire training facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. Based on a literature review and an evaluation of site conditions, several potential emerging technologies were identified that can be deployed at the training facility to meet the site remediation strategy. Of the potential technologies, the preferred remediation alternatives include source area soil excavation and reagent adsorbent solution injection for the shallow groundwater aquifer and pump and treat technology for the bedrock groundwater aquifer. Due to several literature data gaps, assessment activities and cost estimates are needed to determine if the preferred treatment alternative is the most economically and technologically feasible remedial alternative for the site.
  • A review of microgrids ability to enhance readiness for military and first responders
    (2022-06) Bunch, Wendell
    Bunch, Wendell. A review of microgrids ability to enhance readiness for military and first responders (Under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Nichols) Microgrids are a relatively new and promising technology that will benefit the DoD community and first responders by providing reliable energy in times of disaster. Currently, minimal research exists highlighting best practices for this technology at both the micro and macro level for these specific industries. The majority of information on constructed microgrids in either of these organizations focus heavily on diesel generator based systems and research on additional microgrid formats exists only in simulations or are theoretical in nature. The most limiting factors for this research is the inadequate information on military microgrid specifications, military infrastructure, emergency equipment specification, and cost of the system. The purpose of this review is to compare microgrid implementation for disaster response forces and the military to conventional power and identify best practices to gain additional capabilities for these vulnerable populations. Many new technologies and simulated modeling are able to forecast the impact of these microgrids and their influence on future disaster response efforts. Design factors such as focusing on system resiliency will minimize down time during these events and mitigate any second and third order events from increasing the disaster intensity.
  • Treatment of a Duke Energy Power Plant wastewater by Thermal Evaporation: a review
    (2022-05) Wilson, Leanne
    Abstract Wilson, Leanne. Master of Environmental Assessment. Treatment of a Duke Energy Power Plant wastewater by Thermal Evaporation: a review Water resources are an integral part of providing industries, especially electric generating facilities the ability to operate. A downside is the amount of wastewater that is produced. With the adoption of North Carolina's Clean Smokestack Act and National Air Quality standards on SO2 emission into the atmosphere, many fossil fueled plants have converted their facilities with FGD or Flue Gas Desulfurization systems in order to "scrub" the SO2 from their emission sources. Having to clean up one medium, the air, introduced new opportunities to create wastewater. Under the Clean Water Act, facilities that generate wastewater are responsible for adhering to the facility's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System or NPDES permit. With the conversion to FGD, a Duke Energy facility installed the use of a Bioreactor system that uses heterotrophic bacteria to reduce pollutants in the wastewater. Problems arose with increased concentrations of metals, i.e., Selenium, Mercury, Boron, Thallium and Manganese that were not meeting the facility's NPDES limits. After a special order of consent was issued by NCDEQ and a 3rd party wastewater study conducted, the decision was made to seek new FGD treatment technologies by Duke Energy to comply with the NPDES limits of the receiving waterbody. The treatment that was selected was the Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) or Thermal Evaporating system. In the years following the commissioning of the ZLD, there has been significant improvements to the water quality and chemistry of the discharge coming from the plant into the receiving reservoir. All metals of concern decreased with Selenium at 94.81%, Mercury at 93.21%, Boron at 64.88%, Thallium at 50.43 % and Manganese at 68.79%.
  • Understanding Environmental Motivations to Reduce Anthropogenic Litter in Monroe Lake State Park and the Hoosier National Forest Charles C. Deam Wilderness in Indiana, USA
    (2022-04) Gilbert, Maria
    GILBERT, MARIA MICHELLE. Master of Environmental Assessment. Understanding Environmental Motivations to Reduce Anthropogenic Litter in Monroe Lake State Park and the Hoosier National Forest Charles C. Deam Wilderness in Indiana, USA. Scholars have identified various environmental tactics to discourage littering behaviors on public lands, but research suggests that a single tactic is not likely to result in long-term consistent behavior change that leads to the adoption of pro-environmental behaviors. This study investigated possible tactics to be implemented at Monroe Lake State Park and the Hoosier National Forest Charles C. Deam Wilderness to encourage visitors to engage in long-term consistent pro-environmental behaviors that encourage litter collection at both sites. Study objectives were evaluated by a qualitative study that derived data from direct observations, interviews, and surveys. Using the Fogg Behavior Model as the theoretical framework, this study evaluated recreationists’ extrinsic and intrinsic motivating factors, recreationists’ physical abilities, and triggers that remind recreationists to engage in litter collection. Results suggest the placement of garbage cans and informational signs is most likely to encourage visitors to engage in litter collection behaviors at both study sites. As a result, it is recommended that garbage cans and informational signs be placed in select locations and that law enforcement and positive reinforcement be implemented as environmental tactics to encourage litter collection in Indiana’s state and federal public lands surrounding Monroe Lake.
  • The Utilization of Brewery By-Products Generated by North Carolina Craft Breweries
    (2022-05) Sananikone, Jayna
    Sananikone, Jayna. Master of Environmental Assessment. The Utilization of Brewery By- Products Generated by North Carolina Craft Breweries. The rise of craft breweries in North Carolina recently developed within the last 40 years; therefore, there is little to no information on the methods of by-product disposal used by these craft breweries. This study was conducted to fill that gap. The study focuses on the utilization of brewery by-products generated by North Carolina craft breweries. An investigation was conducted in which 208 North Carolinian craft brewers were contacted to participate in a simple survey regarding their operations and by-product disposal methods. Forty-two (42) craft brewers responded and participated in the study. The research found regardless of craft brewers’ location, size, establishment time frame, metro area, and annual production there was no common disposal method among all the craft brewery by-products; however, most of the craft brewers disposed of brewery by-products either two to three times a week or when required and incurred no costs associated with the disposal of brewery by-products. In addition, the research found that spent hops and spent yeast has a larger variation in disposal methods. Small-craft brewers and urban craft brewers use a wider range of disposal methods for spent hops and spent yeast compared to medium- and large-craft brewers and rural craft brewers. Limitations to this research study could result from the participation rate, i.e., the study participants represent a fifth of North Carolina craft brewers. Further, while the respondents were geographically distributed across North Carolina, population-based survey statistics were not used to guide the participant selection. As a result, the results of this study may not fully represent the utilization of brewery by-products generated by all North Carolina craft breweries. During the research study several craft brewers were contacted regarding clarifying metrics of volume produced annually or to elaborate on unique disposal methods. At the time of this study, some responses were not received; however, this does not affect the conclusions of the study. The results of this study could be of interest to varied environmental organizations (e.g., the NC Department of Environmental Quality, private engineering/consulting firms) for developing cooperative partnerships and by designing future investigations into how local brewery by-products can be used to remediate contaminated soils.
  • An Evaluation of Coal Ash Disposal Methods and Their Potential Impacts to Human Health and the Environment
    (2022-05-02) Norberg, Natalie
    NORBERG, NATALIE BARBARA. An evaluation of coal ash disposal methods and their potential impacts to human health and the environment. Coal ash, the residue leftover from the burning of coal in power plants, is one of the largest waste products produced in the United States. Although coal ash contains an array of heavy metals, it is subject to the same disposal regulations as household garbage. The two most common disposal methods for coal ash are landfills and surface impoundments. Each of these disposal methods has limitations, and there is concern as to whether these disposal methods are allowing contamination of surface water, groundwater, and air. This literature review aimed to evaluate the potential negative impacts of coal ash disposal methods on human health and aquatic ecosystems. Results of this review indicate that surface impoundments and landfills provide little harm to humans and aquatic life. However, current disposal methods are not infallible, and it would be beneficial to find ways to recycle and reuse coal ash to limit the amount that enters the environment.
  • Review of Methods and Policies to Slow Flooding Near Jones County, NC
    (2022-03) Smith, Kyle
    SMITH, KYLE ALLEN. Review of Methods and Policies to Slow Flooding Near Jones County, NC. A flood can be a very costly occurrence. Coastal North Carolina has experienced such events in recent years. Preparing for and preventing major loss from a flood is critical. Many methods have been explored to understand why flooding is occurring more rapidly than ever before. Land use changes, such as urbanization has had an impact, among others. Preventing runoff in the areas where land uses are changing is a growing problem. Clearing rivers and streams of undesirable debris is a constant challenge, particularly after major storm events. New plans such as “Green infrastructure” has become a way to combat the ongoing flooding issues. The “Green infrastructure” is cost effective and makes for a pleasing design. Permeable materials have offered progress in controlling flooding. Continuing forward, policies need to be adopted that would be a guide to action that needs to be taken in the event future disasters occur.