Category: Waste Management and Radiation Control

Hazardous Waste: DEQ Protects the Public through Inspections, Education

By Alex Pashley Almost everything we do creates some kind of waste. While many wastes are relatively benign, some are hazardous and need to be regulated to protect public health and the environment. As a hazardous waste inspector for the Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste (DSHW), I evaluate the hazardous …

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Radon: What You Can’t See Can Hurt You

By Eleanor Divver In my job, I hear a lot of stories about families who have suffered terrible personal losses because they were unknowingly exposed to radon gas in their homes. Some of these stories, like the one below, just break my heart. A family moved to Salt Lake City eighteen years ago. The company …

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X-ray Inspections Ensure Patient Safety

By Lisa Mechem Most of us don’t give it a second thought when we get an x -ray at the dentist’s office because we correctly assume that the equipment our doctors and dentists use has been tested for safety. We can rest easy because the radiation scientists at the Division of Radiation Control (DRC) regularly …

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Make It a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” Holiday

By Deborah Ng The holidays are a season for giving. So why not give something that helps the environment at the same time? Here at the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control, we teach about the 3R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Careful consideration during the purchase of gifts will reduce the amount of useless …

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Hazardous Waste: Cleaning Up a Legacy of Chemical Waste

By Dave Larsen Can you think of a nice name for huge piles of waste from the demilitarization and testing of chemical agent bombs, projectiles, and other munitions? The U.S. Army likes to call this “legacy waste,” and it includes thousands of munitions that were disposed of on the ground or buried at Army facilities …

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DEQ Leads by Example through its Green Team

[Originally published September 10, 2014] By Donna Kemp Spangler You don’t have to look too hard to find a group of employees dedicated to improving the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s overall environmental impact. After all, “protecting and enhancing” Utah’s environment is at the core of what we do here at DEQ. An organization’s Green …

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Keeping Used Oil From Going Down the Storm Drain

 By Scott Hopkins Editor’s Note: This is the second of a series of posts—during the month of September—focused on simple home improvement tips to help improve your quality of life and the environment. If you like to do your own maintenance on your car, you’re in luck: Utah has one of the best used-oil collection …

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Testing for Radon Gas Could Save Your Life

 By Eleanor Divver Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series of posts—during the month of September—focused on simple home improvement tips to help improve your quality of life and the environment. A family moved into their dream home in Salt Lake City 15 years ago and tested their home for radon gas. The …

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EPA’s Superfund Program

 By Dave Allison It’s always challenging working as a liaison with the public on abandoned hazardous waste sites in Utah through EPA’s Superfund program. Chances are you’ve probably never heard of CERCLA or Superfund until a site is designated within your community and it’s our job to make a very complex process more understandable. The …

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Radiation: Radioactive Materials Accidents

 By Spencer Wickham Let’s face it, accidents happen, and they happen when you least expect it. There are risks associated with almost everything we do. Whether the risks are breaking a bone or two from riding a dirt bike (I know this from personal experience), or getting your foot run over by a forklift in …

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SUCCESS: X-Ray Inspections

By Rusty Lundberg When you’re sitting in the dental chair, you’re probably more concerned about cavities than the X-rays your dentist uses to detect them. It’s easy to forget that dental and medical X-rays deliver the majority of our exposure to man made radiation. New radiation survey meters used by Division of Radiation Control (DRC) …

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Environmental Stewardship

By Donna Kemp Spangler DEQ employees constantly inspire me to “up my game” when it comes to environmental stewardship. And each of them is a walking reminder that each person can make a difference. A significant and growing number of DEQ employees take mass transit or carpool to work. Air Quality Director Bryce Bird drives a …

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Reusable? Be Environmentally Friendly

By Hilary Arens So how does “Every Day is Earth Day” work at my house? Well, with toddler twins, some days just feel like survival until bedtime! But since both my husband and I are environmentalists and both work for DEQ, we have instilled some habits in our home that even on the busiest days …

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Getting Rid of Household Hazardous Waste

By Pat Sheehan Household hazardous waste (HHHW) is any waste produced in the home which contains hazardous substances or may pose a threat to the environment, pets and wildlife, or human health (think little children as the most immediate risk). Products containing hazardous substances are often labeled with words such as: toxic, flammable, corrosive, reactive, …

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Recycling, Reducing, Re-purposing

By Candace Cady I have slowly become more and more obsessed with…R’s! R’s you ask? Yes, Recycling, Reducing, Re-purposing and Refusing. It started with potato peels and carrot peels and a little book about composting. Then the county delivered the blue bin. In went the cardboard boxes from the warehouse food stores. In went the …

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