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School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Now offering two distinct diplomas: Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering

Treatment and Management of Toxic and Hazardous Wastes


SchoolEnvironmental Engineering
Course LevelUndergraduate
Course IDENVE 438Semester8th
Course CategoryRequired
Course ModulesInstruction Hours per WeekECTS

Lectures,Tutorials and Laboratory assignments

T=3, E=1, L=2/2

Course TypeScientific area
Instruction/Exam LanguageGreek
The course is offered to Erasmus studentsYes
Course URLhttps//  (in Greek)



Learning Outcomes

The course is teaching a hazardous waste has the potential to cause an unacceptable risk to public health and the environment. The hazardous waste should be defined by international organizations like United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), European Waste Catalogue, etc. 

The students would learn about hazardous waste lists, origin, forms, characteristics, and properties. Also, the kind of wastes that excluded from hazardous waste like:

  • Hazardous waste from households
  • Small quantity generators - often placed outside the system, at least initially
  • Aqueous effluents discharged to sewer or treated on-site - controlled separately from hazardous wastes in most countries
  • Sewage sludge - excluded in some countries
  • Mining wastes - often excluded
  • Agricultural waste - often excluded
  • Nuclear waste - always excluded

The students will be informed about the Basel Convention.

  • Came into force in 1992.
  • Global approach to control transboundary movements of hazardous wastes.
  • It has established a central system for the definition of hazardous wastes.
  • It is a global legal instrument to control the generation, transboundary movement, transport, disposal and recovery of these wastes.
  • A manual was developed by the Secretary and widely disseminated in early 1994 for use by the parties.
  • The convention states that “Illegal traffic of hazardous waste is criminal”  

Risk assessment is the process to evaluate the potential for adverse health or environmental effects from exposure to naturally occurring or synthetic agents (compounds). Risk assessment typically includes an estimation of the probability of harm or the effect that a chemical in the environment may have on wildlife. Risk assessment involves four components: hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization.

The students will learn about hazardous waste compatibility that is the ability of two or more materials to exist in close association with each other without the formation of harmful chemical or physical reaction. There are many undesirable reactions by mixing incompatible wastes.

The student will be informed about thermal treatment of hazardous waste that is the destruction of hazardous waste by thermal decomposition. Thermal treatment methods include:
incineration - complete combustion using excess oxygen
gasification - incomplete combustion in the partial absence of oxygen
pyrolysis - thermal decomposition in the total absence of oxygen

The solid residues are consisted of bottom ash or slag, fly ash and air pollution control (APC) residues. Terms and regulations on treatment and disposal of solid residues differ between countries. Bottom ash may be landfilled or used as an aggregate substitute e.g. for road construction.

The students will emphasize on the physicochemical treatment of hazardous waste. The physical processes enable different waste components to be separated or isolated, for re-use or appropriate treatment or disposal. The chemical processes use chemical reactions to transform hazardous wastes into less hazardous substances (reduce risk potential). They often used in combination to optimise hazardous waste treatment.

The students will learn about hazardous waste landfilling. It requires secure landfill site dedicated to disposal of hazardous waste. The site must be: highly engineered, should have discrete cells for different waste types, separated by barriers and designed to resist leakage, segregate incompatible wastes, contain waste in a safe manner and prohibit contact between landfill contents and surrounding environment. The student will learn the basic principles of secure hazardous waste landfill and ‘ultimate’ landfill.

Lastly, the students will learn about special hazardous waste like Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and Dioxins / Furans. PCBs are persistent in the environment, travel very far away – Artic circle, build up in environment and affect human health, contaminate the marine food chain and NO ONE is PCB-free, stored in body fat, very slowly eliminated. The dioxins/furans are chlorinated organic chemicals with similar structures, the chlorine atoms can be attached in 8 different places on the molecule and the harmful effects of dioxin vary according to where the Cl atoms are located.

General Competencies/Skills
  • Review, analysis and synthesis of data and information, with the use of necessary technologies
  • Team work
  • Work in an international frame
  • Protect natural environment


  • Properties and classification of hazardous waste based on their physical and chemical characteristics, treatment and disposal
  • Distribution of pollutants in the environment and effects in human health, materials, vegetation, air (hazardous waste in the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere)
  •  Introduction
    • Hazardous waste history
    • Hazardous waste in Greece
  • Hazardous waste
    • Definition of hazardous waste
    • Classification
    • Hazardous waste symbols
    • Current legal framework
  • Risk Assessment and Toxicity
    • Basic concepts of toxicology
    • Basic principles of risk assessment
  • Hazardous waste management
    • Reduction-minimization of waste production at the source
    • Reuse and recovery
    • Recycling
    • Storage
    • Transfer
    • Treatment
    • Final disposal
    • Life cycle analysis (LCA)
  • Hazardous waste landfilling
    • Design of landfills for hazardous waste
    • Site selection
    • Identification and control of incoming waste
    • Construction
    • Operation
    • Monitoring
    • Security and emergency situations
  • Physicochemical treatment processes
    • Flocculation and agglomeration
    • Sedimentation
    • Flotation
    • Filtration
    • Evaporation
    • Neutralization
    • Chemical oxidation/reduction
    • Sorption
    • Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs)
    • Solidification/stabilization
  • Thermal treatment processes
    • Incineration
    • Pyrolysis
    • Gasification
    • Mechanisms of formation and emissions of gaseous pollutants
    • Energy balance
    • Legislation
  • Examples
    • Asbestos
    • Dioxins and furans
    • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
    • Radioactive Waste


Lecture MethodDirect (face to face)

Use of Information and Communication Technology

  • Power point presentations
  • E-class support
Instruction OrganisationActivityWorkload per Semester
- Lectures40
- Lab assignments20
- Lab Projects20
- Tutorials20
- Autonomous study50
Course Total150

Assessment Method

I. Written final examination (70%).
- Questions of theoretical knowledge.
- Theoretical problems to be resolved.

ΙΙ. Lab work (30%).

  • Five lab exercises
    • On-the-spot multiple choice questions: 25% of the lab grade
    • Team reports: 25% of the lab grade
  • Final lab exam: 50% of the lab grade 


  • LaGrega D. Michael, Buckingham L. Phillip, Evans C. Jeffrey, 2001. Hazardous Waste Management, McGraw-Hill.
  • Watts J. Richard, 1997. Hazardous Wastes: Sources-Pathways-Receptors.


Course Instructor:Assistant Professor A. Giannis (Faculty - EnvEng)
Lectures: Assistant Professor A. Giannis (Faculty - EnvEng)
Tutorial exercises:E. Kastanaki (LTS - EnvEng)
Laboratory Exercises:E. Kastanaki (LTS - EnvEng)