Pollution Prevention Guides for 
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Carbon Monoxide (CO) - A colorless and odorless gas that is formed during incomplete combustion. Potential sources of CO include cigarette smoke, fossil fuel combustion, and automobile exhaust.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) - Chemicals used for refrigeration, air conditioning, aerosol sprays, and plastics. CFCs released into the atmosphere migrate high above the earth where they break down to form chlorine gas. Chlorine gas can destroy the ozone layer.

Compost - The controlled microbial decomposition of organic matter, such as yard waste and food scraps, in the presence of oxygen into a humus- or soil-like material.

Energy - The ability to do work. Electricity is a form of energy that is transferred by moving electrons.

EPA Identification Number - A 12-digit code used to track hazardous waste from the point of generation to the disposal facility. A business must obtain this number if their hazardous waste is sent to a treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD) facility and they are a Small or Large Generator.

Flash Point - Minimum liquid temperature at which a spark or flame causes an instantaneous flash in the vapor space above the liquid.

Groundwater - Water that occurs beneath the surface of the earth, unsaturated soil, or the interstices of bedrock.

Halogenated Solvent - Chemicals, such as chlorine, bromine, fluorine, astatine, and iodine, that contain one or more of the halogen elements. Most halogenated solvents contain chlorine and are referred to as chlorinated solvents. Halogenated solvents are usually very toxic to humans and the environment if improperly handled or disposed of.

Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) - Chemicals that cause adverse health effects including cancer, birth defects, nervous system damage, and possibly death. Potential sources of HAPs may include some printers, drycleaners, and vehicles.

Hazardous Material - A material that because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics, may pose a threat to human health and the environment.

Hazardous Waste - A waste or combination of wastes that, because of its quantity, concentration or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics, may pose a threat to human health and the environment.

Heavy Metals - Hazardous elements, including mercury and lead, which may be found in the waste stream as part of discarded items such as batteries and lighting

Incineration - The controlled burning of municipal solid waste to reduce volume and, in some cases, to recover energy.

Landfill - The disposal of solid waste at engineered facilities in a series of compacted layers on land and the daily covering of the waste with soil. Fill areas are managed in such a way as to prevent nuisances or public health hazards.

Leachate - A liquid that has entered, passed through, or emerged from solid waste.

Lumen - The quantitative measure of a lampsís brightness. A 75 Watt incandescent bulb has 1,200 lumens, whereas a 18 Watt compact fluorescent bulb has 1,100 lumens.

Manifest - The shipping document, originated and signed by the generator, that is used to identify the hazardous waste, its quantity, origin, and destination.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) - Document produced by the manufacturer that provides a variety of information about a product, such as its flash point, ingredients, and precautions for safe handling and use. All hazardous chemical manufacturers and distributors are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to provide MSDSs.

Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) - Emissions limitations based on the best demonstrated control technology or practices. This is a very high level of pollution control.

Nonpoint Source (NPS) - Pollution that originates from precipitation or irrigation flowing through the soil, carrying pollutants to surface water or groundwater. NPS pollution is a major contributor to declining water quality in Montana.

Ozone - A gas consisting of three oxygen atoms. High concentrations of naturally-occurring ozone gas are found high above the earthís surface. This ozone layer shields the earth against harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Point Source (PS) - Pollution that comes from a discernible, confined, or discrete conveyance such as a pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, well, or container.

Pollution Prevention (Source Reduction) - The design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials to reduce the amount or toxicity of waste.

Post-Consumer Recycling - The reuse of materials generated from residential and commercial waste, excluding recycling of material from industrial processes that has not reached the consumer, such as glass broken in the manufacturing process.

Power - The rate at which energy is, or could be, transferred. Power is typically metered in kilowatts.

Solid Waste Management Facility - A facility, such as a container site, transfer station, or landfill, designed to temporarily or permanently contain solid waste.

Recycle - The process by which materials are collected, reprocessed or remanufactured, and reused.

Reuse - The use of a material more than once in its same form, either for the same purpose or for a different purpose.

Run-off - Any rainwater, leachate, or other liquid that drains over the land from any part of a facility.

Run-on - Any rainwater, leachate, or other liquid that drains over the land onto any part of a facility.

Scrubbers - Pollution control devices used in industry to remove aerosols and waste gases through the use of water, activated charcoal, or filters.

Septic System - A buried tank where wastes are collected from a house or business. Lighter particles float to the surface, heavy particles sink to the bottom, and the remaining liquid flows through a pipe system to a drainfield in the soil. Some solids are digested by bacteria; the rest must be pumped out.

Smog - A mixture of pollutants, primarily ground-level ozone (product of chemical reactions in the air involving volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and sunlight). Smog can harm humans and the environment and can cause poor visibility.

Solid Waste - All putrescible and non-putrescible wastes, including garbage, rubbish, sludge from sewage treatment plants, dead animals, appliances, construction and demolition debris, and wood waste.

Source Reduction (Pollution Prevention) - The design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials to reduce the amount or toxicity of waste.

Storage - The actual or intended containment of wastes, either on a temporary basis or for a period of years.

Sump - Subsurface chamber, usually beneath a floor drain, designed to capture the solids in shop wastewater.

Transfer Efficiency - A measure of how much paint actually coats a surface compared to how much is applied.

Transporter - A person engaged in the off-site transportation of hazardous waste by air, rail, highway, or water.

Treatment - A method, technique, or process, including neutralization, designed to change the physical, chemical, or biological character or composition of any hazardous waste to neutralize the waste or render it non-hazardous, safer for transport, amenable for recovery, amenable for storage, or reduced in volume.

Treatment, Storage, and Disposal (TSD) Facility - See individual definitions above.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) - Organic compounds that if released into the atmosphere can form ozone in the presence of heat and sunlight. VOCs include gasoline fumes, benzene, solvents such as toluene and xylene, and tetrachloroethylene. Many VOCs are also HAPs (for example benzene, causes cancer).

Waste Stream - A term describing the total flow of solid waste from homes, businesses, and institutions that must be recycled, incinerated, or disposed of in landfills.

Wastewater Disposal - The disposition of treated wastewater to a receiving water, either groundwater or surface water.

Wastewater Treatment - Inactivation of disease-causing organisms and decomposition of constituents of the wastewater so that it will not cause harm in the receiving water.

Water Conservation - Activities designed to reduce the demand for water, improve efficiency in use, and reduce the waste of water.

Watt - A measure of how much electric energy is flowing, or can flow, through a particular electrical device or circuit in one hour.


Montana State University Extension Service
Pollution Prevention Program Taylor Hall Bozeman, Montana 59717
(406) 994-3451
funded by
The United States Environmental Protection Agency
(Glossary to accompany a fact sheet series of 18)

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