The definitions on this page originally appeared on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's website.
Waste: 1. Unwanted materials left over from a manufacturing process. 2. Refuse from places of human or animal habitation.
Waste Characterization: Identification of chemical and microbiological constituents of a waste material.
Waste Exchange: Arrangement in which companies exchange their wastes for the benefit of both parties.
Waste Feed: The continuous or intermittent flow of wastes into an incinerator.
Waste Generation: The weight or volume of materials and products that enter the waste stream before recycling, composting, landfilling, or combustion takes place. Also can represent the amount of waste generated by a given source or category of sources.
Waste Load Allocation: 1. The maximum load of pollutants each discharger of waste is allowed to release into a particular waterway. Discharge limits are usually required for each specific water quality criterion being, or expected to be, violated. 2. The portion of a stream's total assimilative capacity assigned to an individual discharge.
Waste Minimization: Measures or techniques that reduce the amount of wastes generated during industrial production processes; term is also applied to recycling and other efforts to reduce the amount of waste going into the waste stream.
Waste Piles: Non-containerized, lined or unlined accumulations of solid, nonflowing waste.
Waste Reduction: Using source reduction, recycling, or composting to prevent or reduce waste generation.
Waste Stream: The total flow of solid waste from homes, businesses, institutions, and manufacturing plants that is recycled, burned, or disposed of in landfills, or segments thereof such as the "residential waste stream" or the "recyclable waste stream."
Waste Treatment Lagoon: Impoundment made by excavation or earth fill for biological treatment of wastewater.
Waste Treatment Plant: A facility containing a series of tanks, screens, filters and other processes by which pollutants are removed from water.
Waste Treatment Stream: The continuous movement of waste from generator to treater and disposer.
Waste-Heat Recovery: Recovering heat discharged as a byproduct of one process to provide heat needed by a second process.
Waste-to-Energy Facility/Municipal-Waste Combustor: Facility where recovered municipal solid waste is converted into a usable form of energy, usually via combustion.
Wastewater: The spent or used water from a home, community, farm, or industry that contains dissolved or suspended matter.Water Pollution: The presence in water of enough harmful or objectionable material to damage the water's quality.
Wastewater Infrastructure: The plan or network for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage in a community. The level of treatment will depend on the size of the community, the type of discharge, and/or the designated use of the receiving water.
Wastewater Operations and Maintenance: Actions taken after construction to ensure that facilities constructed to treat wastewater will be operated, maintained, and managed to reach prescribed effluent levels in an optimum manner.
Wastewater Treatment Plan: A facility containing a series of tanks, screens, filters, and other processes by which pollutants are removed from water. Most treatments include chlorination to attain safe drinking water standards.
Water Purveyor: A public utility, mutual water company, county water district, or municipality that delivers drinking water to customers.
Water Quality Criteria: Levels of water quality expected to render a body of water suitable for its designated use. Criteria are based on specific levels of pollutants that would make the water harmful if used for drinking, swimming, farming, fish production, or industrial processes.
Water Quality Standards: State-adopted and EPA-approved ambient standards for water bodies. The standards prescribe the use of the water body and establish the water quality criteria that must be met to protect designated uses.
Water Quality-Based Limitations: Effluent limitations applied to dischargers when mere technology-based limitations would cause violations of water quality standards. Usually applied to discharges into small streams.
Water Quality-Based Permit: A permit with an effluent limit more stringent than one based on technology performance. Such limits may be necessary to protect the designated use of receiving waters (e.g. recreation, irrigation, industry or water supply).
Water Solubility: The maximum possible concentration of a chemical compound dissolved in water. If a substance is water soluble it can very readily disperse through the environment.
Water Storage Pond: An impound for liquid wastes designed to accomplish some degree of biochemical treatment.
Water Supplier: One who owns or operates a public water system.
Water Supply System: The collection, treatment, storage, and distribution of potable water from source to consumer.
Water Table: The level of groundwater.
Water Treatment Lagoon: An impound for liquid wastes designed to accomplish some degree of biochemical treatment.
Water Well: An excavation where the intended use is for location, acquisition, development, or artificial recharge of ground water.
Water-Soluble Packaging: Packaging that dissolves in water; used to reduce exposure risks to pesticide mixers and loaders.
Water-Source Heat Pump: Heat pump that uses wells or heat exchangers to transfer heat from water to the inside of a building. Most such units use ground water. (See: groundsource heat pump; heat pump.)
Waterborne Disease Outbreak: The significant occurence of acute illness associated with drinking water from a public water system that is deficient in treatment, as determined by appropriate local or state agencies.
Watershed: The land area that drains into a stream; the watershed for a major river may encompass a number of smaller watersheds that ultimately combine at a common point.
Watershed Approach: A coordinated framework for environmental management that focuses public and private efforts on the highest priority problems within hydrologically-defined geographic areas taking into consideration both ground and surface water flow.
Watershed Area: A topographic area within a line drawn connecting the highest points uphill of a drinking waterintake into which overland flow drains.
Weight of Scientific Evidence: Considerations in assessing the interpretation of published information about toxicity--quality of testing methods, size and power of study design, consistency of results across studies, and biological plausibility of exposure-response relationships and statistical associations.
Weir: 1. A wall or plate placed in an open channel to measure the flow of water. 2. A wall or obstruction used to control flow from settling tanks and clarifiers to ensure a uniform flow rate and avoid short-circuiting. (See: short-circuiting.)
Well: A bored, drilled, or driven shaft, or a dug hole whose depth is greater than the largest surface dimension and whose purpose is to reach underground water supplies or oil, or to store or bury fluids below ground.
Well Field: Area containing one or more wells that produce usable amounts of water or oil.
Well Injection: The subsurface emplacement of fluids into a well.
Well Monitoring: Measurement by on-site instruments or laboratory methods of well water quality.
Well Plug: A watertight, gastight seal installed in a bore hole or well to prevent movement of fluids.
Well Point: A hollow vertical tube, rod, or pipe terminating in a perforated pointed shoe and fitted with a fine-mesh screen.
Wellhead Protection Area: A protected surface and subsurface zone surrounding a well or well field supplying a public water system to keep contaminants from reaching the well water.
Wetlands: An area that is saturated by surface or ground water with vegetation adapted for life under those soil conditions, as swamps, bogs, fens, marshes, and estuaries.
Wettability: The relative degree to which a fluid will spread into or coat a solid surface in the presence of other immiscible fluids.
Wettable Powder: Dry formulation that must be mixed with water or other liquid before it is applied.
Wheeling: The transmission of electricity owned by one entity through the facilities owned by another (usually a utility).
Whole-Effluent-Toxicity Tests: Tests to determine the toxicity levels of the total effluent from a single source as opposed to a series of tests for individual contaminants.
Wildlife Refuge: An area designated for the protection of wild animals, within which hunting and fishing are either prohibited or strictly controlled.
Wind farms: A wind farm is a group of wind turbines used to generate electricity.
Wire-to-Wire Efficiency: The efficiency of a pump and motor together.
Wood Packaging: Wood products such as pallets, crates, and barrels.
Wood Treatment Facility: An industrial facility that treats lumber and other wood products for outdoor use. The process employs chromated copper arsenate, which is regulated as a hazardous material.
Wood-Burning-Stove Pollution: Air pollution caused by emissions of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, total suspended particulates, and polycyclic organic matter from wood-burning stoves.
Working Level (WL): A unit of measure for documenting exposure to radon decay products, the so-called "daughters." One working level is equal to approximately 200 picocuries per liter.
Working Level Month (WLM): A unit of measure used to determine cumulative exposure to radon.