Environmental Science, Policy & Engineering Program
|Dr. Ashraf Ghaly, P.E.
Lectures: TTH 10:55 - 12:40 PM, Olin 306.
Office hours: immediately after class or request an appointment.
An interdisciplinary course that will present topics detailing the intersection between the environment, ethics, law, society, litigation, policy, economics, pollution/contamination, cleanup, testing, standards, and sustainability. Sources of environmental problems are usually related to emissions, pollution, contamination, and/or waste disposal. Whether the cause is intentional or non-intentional, natural factors or a man-made disaster, or due to normal operation or accident, a crisis ensues and cleanup becomes necessary. This inevitably leads to legal actions and litigations that rely on experts in conducting scientific investigations to establish the facts surrounding potential controversies. Topics discussed in the course include liability, environmental site assessment, insurance litigation, toxic torts, science tools, sampling & measurements, statistical analysis, chemical fingerprinting, contaminant transport models, and environmental forensic microscopy. The course will illustrate the above points using case studies.
|90+ = A
|85+ = A-
|80+ = B+
|75+ = B
|70+ = B-
|65+ = C+
|60+ = C
|55+ = C-
|50+ = D
Sullivan, P.J., Agardy, F.J., and Traub R.K. (2000). Practical Environmental Forensics: Process and Case Histories, Wiley & Co. (ISBN-10 0471353981 )
ENVIRONMENTAL FORENSICS INVESTIGATION PIVOTAL QUESTIONS
THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
A LEGACY OF WASTE AND CHEMICAL POLLUTION
INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
AN INTRODUCTION TO INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LOSSES
SITE HISTORIES: THE PAPER TRAIL HOW AND WHY TO FOLLOW IT
THE FORENSIC APPLICATION OF CONTAMINANT TRANSPORT MODELS
FORENSIC APPLICATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES
WHY USE VISUALS
EVIDENCE ISSUES: GETTING EXPERT OPINIONS PAST THE JUDICIAL GATEKEEPER AND INTO EVIDENCE
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION TECHNIQUES
FORENSIC CASE MANAGEMENT
DEFLATING ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS
GUILT BY ASSOCIATION
AN ISSUE OF DISCLOSURE
SETTLING A CLAIM
A COST OF DOING BUSINESS
A SUDDEN AND ACCIDENTAL EVENT
AN ACT OF GOD
ENVIRONMENTAL FORENSICS POSITION PAPERS
Published materials detailing various components of a case involving environmental forensics will be given as an assigned reading. Because cases take place within a certain societal setting, in addition to the environmental and forensics-related factors, the case may involve other issues such as history and culture. Students are expected to dissect the elements involved in the case and express their opinion regarding the reported incident(s), response(s) of various actors, and the resolution or final outcome. The position paper is designed to be a platform for students to state whether or not they thought that events reported in the case resulted in "fair" and "reasonable" conclusions. If the conclusions are deemed or viewed as unfair or unreasonable, students are expected to detail how they thought better conclusions could be reached and what these conclusions could have been. Opinions articulated in this page position paper must be presented in a logical and sensible fashion. The arguments students make must be based on a thorough analysis of the incident(s) that the assigned article contains. This will achieve several goals: evaluation of the evidence and its quality, conducting of analysis that leads to rational conclusions, and development of professional writing skills to produce a report-like paper that closely matches industry standards. After grading the paper, the instructor will summarize expressed students positions and report it to the class. This will be followed by an open forum in which all facts relevant to the case will be presented, discussed, analyzed, debated, and examined in the classroom. The first and second position papers are due in the 4th and 7th week, respectively.
ENVIRONMENTAL FORENSICS STAKEHOLDER MEETING
A stakeholder meeting will be held for the students in this course in which the class will be divided to groups of students and various roles will be given to each group. On the day of the meeting, every group will be given the opportunity to offer their view of the case under consideration. Arguments and counter arguments will be allowed in a professional setting facilitated by course instructor. Various groups will be asked to respond to what they deem as flaws in the position of others and correct, or at least shed light, on what they perceive as erroneous analysis. This meeting constitutes a component of class participation.
ENVIRONMENTAL FORENSICS TERM PAPER
The final term paper is a research paper with a scope wider than that addressed in position papers. Having developed an organized process of thought in the short position papers completed during the term, each student will be asked to do the same task on a complex case with many interwoven parameters that cannot be easily dissected. In this kind of exercise students will get exposure to real-world scenarios and get to sense the frustration that these types of cases usually generate due to the inability to easily define right and wrong. Students will present their paper to the class in the last week of the term and be prepared to answer questions from the instructor as well as from their peers.
The term paper in this course should be thought provoking in addressing an issue related to environmental forensics. Define the issue, indicate its relevance, show why it matters, state its impact and dimensions, and help the reader appreciate the elegance of your arguments
Papers should be a Word document or PDF. There is no minimum or maximum page limit for papers. In addition to the text, students may wish to supplement their papers with proper photos, pictures, tables, graphs, charts, and figures. Supplementing materials must be referenced at least once in the text of the paper.
Paper Grading Criteria
Students taking this course will receive Engineering/Technology/Society (ETS) credit. Classroom presentations and discussion will promote critical thinking to enable students to evaluate evidence, results, and claims related to the natural sciences/engineering/technology and their impact on broader human or societal issues. In their written paper and in their oral presentation, students are expected to highlight and detail principles similar to those listed above. The grade in this term paper will be assigned based on the quality and depth of thought, organization, and relevance of content to the subject under consideration, understanding, clarity of presentation, and demonstration of ability to address questions with comprehension.
STUDENTS TAKE AWAY
SUGGESTED REFERENCE (a source for more information)
Murphy, B.L. and Morrison, R.D. (2007). “Introduction to Environmental Forensics,” 2nd, edition, Academic Press (ISBN-10: 0123695228)
ASTM STANDARD SPECIFICATIONS
ASTM E1527−13. Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process
ASTM E1903−11. Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process
ASTM E2247−16. Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property.
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