This list is intended to help researchers identify potential topics for projects; however, there is no guarantee that the Center will provide any funding for any proposed research project, even if the project is based on a topic that is included in this list. The decision to fund specific projects will be made by the Center, in its sole discretion, based on many factors, including but not limited to the funds available, the relevance and timeliness of the proposed topic, and other factors, as they exist at the time when the proposed project is being evaluated by the Center.
- What should the FDEP consider when making beneficial use determinations for waste materials? What leaching tests are appropriate? How should the environmental and human health risks be evaluated for beneficial use projects when wastes are land applied, or used to build embankments, roads, sub-bases or as general fill? [Other related questions include - What are the environmental impacts of cracks on contaminant leaching and transport in roads built or paved using recycled materials? What are the environmental impacts of the use of coal ash for agriculture? (Coal ash is an alternative for liming materials and has been shown to improve crop production. However, little is known about the environmental impacts of using coal ash as a soil amendment.) How do you assess the environmental impact of using fly ash from various sources in reuse applications?]
- Electronic Waste (E-Waste) is a huge and rapidly growing problem. How can we assess and improve the Best Management Practices for e-waste recovery? Are the practices successful?
- Construction and Demolition Debris (C&D) is a growing component of Florida's waste stream. Can more cost efficient methods be developed to segregate, recycle, and/or reuse C&D materials? Considering the amount of construction that is always taking place in Florida, more cost efficient methods of handling and processing C&D materials would have a positive impact on solid waste management and recycling in our state.
- Recent media reports indicate that there has been a large increase in discarded television sets (CRT) due to consumers swapping out older technologies for new sets (flat screen, HDTV, digital TV, etc). Is there a large upswing in volume of discarded CRT's coming in the future? Is there sufficient capacity for handling a large increase in the disposal of these types of electronic devices?
- What are the risks and benefits of using exposed geomembrane covers for final cover at Class I facilities? This research may generate information useful in advancing discussions about opportunities available to Class I landfill operators reviewing their closure options.
- What environmental (air, water, and waste) and human health risks are likely, if any, from proposed technologies in the solid waste field in Florida, such as pyrolysis, gasification, and plasma arc gasification? How do these technologies work? How do they differ from each other? How do they differ from WTE facilities?
- What should be done with biosolids in counties where land application of biosolids is prohibited or difficult? What is the best way of disposing/handling biosolids in landfills? Can we rid wastewater sludge (biosolids) of odor? What are the Best Management Practices for disposing and handling lime sludge in landfills and elsewhere?
- What are the incentives for development of landfill gas to energy projects? How do these projects fit into the Serve to Preserve Summit and the Energy Action Team?
- How do different vegetative layers affect the control of gaseous emission and runoff from landfills? What types of vegetation can be used to stabilize landfills? How can landfills be managed to optimize their habitat value? Of primary concern is the prevention of damage to the final cap and closure via root systems, etc. Considerations should include variations in green house gas emissions, evapotranspiration, and other climate related factors. Is it appropriate to allow livestock grazing on closed landfills?
- Water-filled trenches are used to intercept contaminated groundwater at some sites. If they are properly located downstream of the source, do they adequately volatilize the volatile contaminants, oxidize contaminants such as iron, and facilitate the attenuation of the plume?
11. Is it feasible to convert yard waste, hurricane debris or other waste to fuel?
12. What are the market support tools for the reuse and recycling of chemical wastes and byproducts? For example, large companies like Home Depot or manufacturing companies may have supplies of soon-to-expire chemical products that would otherwise go to a hazardous waste landfill.