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Epa Essay, Research Paper

Environmental Protection AgencyThe Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) in Edison, New Jersey is very successful in detecting and separating elements found in water. With it s expensive machinery and skilled workers the EPA proved to be successful in making New Jersey s drinking water safe. Throughout the tour, I picked up on some interesting and useful facts. I found myself very interested in exactly how many elements are found in water, how one goes about figuring out the name of the element or compound they have found, and how one goes about separating the elements once they are identified.In the first section of our tour we learned about how to detect what elements are being dealt with and the separation of elements and compounds. We were introduced to a machine called the Purge and Trap, which is used to test drinking water. When the analysis of organic compounds(like those found in drinking water), is being performed the compounds get separated and tested by a GC column. The computer will show what chemicals are present in the substance being tested. The computer has a library of 75,000 mass spectrums, or patterns, to choose from to identify a compound by it s pattern. At the end of this section of the tour, the speaker informed us that most compounds are identified using this method. During another section of our tour we learned about a machine that measures how much of an element is present in a certain substance. There can t be above a certain amount of lead(or metal for that matter) present in drinking water otherwise something needs to be done to lower the levels. The machine that we were introduced to could analyze twenty-seven different elements at the same time. The machine measures elements in parts per million but the lab will soon be getting a new machine that will measure elements in parts per trillion. Because of the new machine the lab technicians will now be able to detect elements that are present but in really small amounts. This will be beneficial in being able to get rid of unwanted elements and chemicals in water.

In the Monsanto case in Illinois, the EPA worked very hard to stop the Monsanto plant from continuing to pollute. People constantly complained about the smell near Monsanto. Monsanto started to produce a larger volume of chemicals so the amount of waste increased drastically. Gravel pits near Monsanto became the company s dump sites. Eventually the wastes started to get into Dead Creek which is about a half of a mile down the street from the plant. The EPA said that high levels of phosphorus in the creek were responsible for it s outbreaks of fire. The Illinois EPA project manager goes to the creek a lot and finds chlorine based herbicides, chemical residues and PCB s. According to the EPA 50 parts per million of PCB s is toxic and harmful to human health and the dump near the creek had 74,000 parts per million of PCB s. Monsanto basically admits that they are mostly responsible for the pollution of Dead Creek and the upper Mississippi River, but toxic waste clean-ups would be to costly for the company. The Illinois EPA continues to try to come up with ways to stop the pollution or at least to monitor it.The works and accomplishments of the EPA are both appreciated and respected. The environmental problems of the world have become increasingly worse so every step taken towards reversing the harmful cycles of pollution help tremendously.

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