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Glossary

A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z

Carbon Adsorption
Carbon adsorption is a remediation technology that removes contaminants from air or water through physical adsorption into the carbon grain. Carbon is "activated" to improve adsorption through a process that creates porous particles that have large internal surface areas. A number of commercial grades of activated carbon are available to meet the requirements of specific applications.

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Carbon Tetrachloride
Carbon tetrachloride is a colorless, highly volatile liquid that has a strong ethereal odor similar to that of chloroform. It mixes sparingly with water and, when heated to decomposition, emits highly toxic fumes of phosgene. Carbon tetrachloride is used primarily as a chemical intermediate in the production of the refrigerants Freon 11 and 12. It also has been used as a general solvent in industrial degreasing operations and as an industrial solvent in the manufacture of cables and semiconductors.

Chemical Dehalogenation
Chemical dehalogenation is a chemical process that removes halogens (usually chlorine) from a chemical contaminant, rendering the contaminant less hazardous. The chemical dehalogenation process can be applied to common halogenated contaminants such as PCBs and dioxins, which may be present in soil and oils. Dehalogenation can be effective in removing halogens from hazardous organic compounds, such as dioxins, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB), and certain chlorinated pesticides. The treatment time is short, energy requirements are moderate, and operation and maintenance costs are relatively low. This technology can be brought to the site, eliminating the need to transport hazardous wastes.

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Chemical Reduction/Oxidation
Chemical treatments typically involve chemical reduction/oxidation (redox) reactions that chemically convert hazardous contaminants to nonhazardous or less toxic compounds that are more stable, less mobile, or inert. Redox reactions involve the transfer of electrons from one compound to another. Specifically, one reactant is oxidized (loses electrons) and one is reduced (gains electrons). The oxidizing agents most commonly used for treatment of hazardous contaminants are ozone, hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorites, chlorine, and chlorine dioxide. In cyanide oxidation, organic cyanides are oxidized to less hazardous compounds through chemical reactions. This method can be applied in situ or ex situ to soils, sludges, sediments, and other solids and also can be applied for the in situ treatment of groundwater.

Clean Air Act (CAA)
The CAA is a federal law passed in 1970 that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish regulations to control the release of contaminants to the air to protect human health and environment.

Clean Water Act (CWA)
The CWA is a 1977 amendment to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, which set the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants to U.S. waters. This law gave EPA the authority to set wastewater discharge standards on an industry-by-industry basis and to set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters.

Cleanup
Cleanup is the term used for actions taken to deal with a release or threat of release of a hazardous substance that could affect humans and or the environment. The term sometimes is used interchangeably with the terms remedial action, removal action, response action, or corrective action.

Colorimetric
Colorimetric refers to chemical reaction-based indicators that are used to produce reactions to individual, or classes of compounds. The reactions, such as visible color changes or other easily noted indications, are used to detect and quantify contaminants.

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
CERCLA is a federal law passed in 1980 that created a special tax that funds a trust fund, commonly known as Superfund, to be used to investigate and clean up abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. CERCLA required for the first time that EPA step beyond its traditional regulatory role and provide response authority to clean up hazardous waste sites. EPA has primary responsibility for managing cleanup and enforcement activities authorized under CERCLA. Under the program, EPA can pay for cleanup when parties responsible for the contamination cannot be located or are unwilling or unable to perform the work, or take legal action to force parties responsible for contamination to clean up the site or reimburse the federal government for the cost of the cleanup.

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Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS)
CERCLIS is a database that serves as the official inventory of Superfund hazardous waste sites. CERCLIS also contains information about all aspects of hazardous waste sites, from initial discovery to deletion from the NPL. The database also maintains information about planned and actual site activities and financial information entered by EPA regional offices. CERCLIS records the targets and accomplishments of the Superfund program and is used to report that information to the EPA Administrator, Congress, and the public.

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Conceptual Site Model (CSM)
A CSM, a key element used in facilitating cleanup decisions during a site investigation, is a planning tool that organizes information that already is known about a site and identifies the additional information necessary to support decisions that will achieve the goals of the project. The project team then uses the CSM to direct field work that focuses on the information needed to remove significant unknowns from the model. The CSM serves several purposes - as a planning instrument; as a modeling and data interpretation tool; and as a means of communication among members of a project team, decision-makers, stakeholders, and field personnel.

Cone Penetrometer
The cone penetrometer is a truckmounted device that rapidly penetrates the ground to collect samples. It has been used for approximately the last 50 years for geotechnical applications, but its use for site characterization is relatively new.

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Contaminant
A contaminant is any physical, chemical, biological, or radiological substance or matter present in any media at concentrations that may pose a threat to human health or the environment.

Corrosivity
Corrosive wastes include those that are extremely acidic or alkaline and capable of corroding metal such as tanks, containers, drums, and barrels.

Creosote
Creosote is an oily liquid obtained by the distillation of wood that is used as a wood preservative and disinfectant and often is found at wood preserving sites.

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