Home > Uncategorized > A thought while sitting in traffic.

A thought while sitting in traffic.

I was sitting in a traffic jam caused by a paving crew the other day and thought about what appears to be a funny double standard:

I’ve been told that when asphalt that gets pulled up it’s considered hazardous waste and it can’t be used as fill but I haven’t heard why it’s considered fine to lay countless kilometers of it; often along bodies of water.

I didn’t come to this thought on my own.  It was put to me at work one day when I was told haul a truckload of old asphalt to a disposal company South of town.  When I suggested that we needed fill in another part of the site I received a finger wagging and lecture about the proper way to handle hazardous waste.

When I asked why it was fine to cover our roads in hazardous waste I was told by a foreman with a wicked grin that it certainly did seem crazy, and that we could get in trouble for breaking rules whether or not we understood why.

Maybe there’s a good reason why asphalt is considered safe when it’s laid on a roadway and it becomes hazardous waste as soon as it has been pulled up.  Maybe asphalt roads are perfectly safe for the environment and the mandated proper disposal of asphalt is simply a matter of recycling.

Maybe it’s the contaminants from vehicle exhaust and leaks over the years that makes old asphalt hazardous.  If that’s the case then if old asphalt is contaminated enough to be considered hazardous waste then perhaps water that runs off any paved surface should be treated similarly; imagine the cost of dealing with that.

Maybe there really is a double standard that’s accepted for the sake of inexpensive and easy transportation.

Maybe the problem is that traffic was held up long enough for me to watch the paving crew work and think about all this.  What a selfish thought.

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