GVMWENM-Waste and Environmental Management

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Steve Robinson

Email: j.s.robinson@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Through a combination of lectures and site vists, this module aims to develop the student's understanding of the principles and practice of waste production and management.  The lectures include contributions from external speakers on a range of technical and political challenges facing the waste industry.

The module provides the students with an understanding of the origin and composition of a variety of industrial and domestic organic and inorganic wastes, their treatment and disposal. Students will gain an understanding of the needs of the user-community in relation to soils and the wider environment. The course will provide students with an understanding of the various ways in which underlying principles are applied to the management of environmental issues in the commercial world.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module the student will be able to: * identify the sources and compositions of various waste products, * discuss the chemical and physical processes involved in the treatment of waste, * evaluate the energy yields associated with different waste treatments and disposals, * compare the sustainability of different waste disposal strategies, * describe and explain the regulatory processes governing the management of nutrients in farming systems in England, * describe and explain the regulatory processes governing the management of waste in England.

Additional outcomes:
Through a series of lectures given by internal and external speakers students will gain an understanding of issues relating to waste that are of interest to industry, consultancies, NGOs and government agencies. This will also foster an awareness of potential employment opportunities at the end of the degree.

Outline content:
The module concerns issues of waste treatment and disposal and also provides detailed information on the important role played by soil science in environmental policy formulation and delivery.
Lectures will cover:

- origin, composition and treatment of waste water,
- processing of organic wastes,
- environmental implications of the use of sewage sludge as a soil amendment,
- generation and disposal of wastes from mining and smelting activities,
- mechanisms and relative merits of landfilling and incineration of urban wastes.

Site visits, each of which consists of presentations by staff of the organisation and a tour of facilities have included the following in the past. Site visit destinations vary from year to year:

- the CEDAR University farm near Arborfield - waste and nutrient management within the context of a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone,
- Landfill site - regulatory issues in relation to waste management and the composting of biodegradable materials.
- Grundon's Materials Recovery Facility site, Beenham - greenwaste composting
- Little Marlow sewage works
- Smallmead Waste Management Facility

In addition a series of lectures will be given by invited speakers from industry, consultancies, NGOs and government agencies on relevant topics. Invited speakers will vary from year to year.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This course will be taught through a series of (invited) lectures and site visits. Up to 5 site visits will be timed across the term. Lectures will take the format of two 50 minute-presentations followed by a brief discussion session.

This is a 10 credit module, which means that it is intended to occupy you for 100 hours of work: background reading, essay writing, site visits and revision for the exam. With that in mind the kind of workload you should expect might be as follows:

15 hours: Contact hours in formal teaching sessions

12 hours: Site visits

53 hours: essay and report writing

20 hours: Background reading for lectures


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15
External visits 12
Guided independent study 73
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Report 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework: One 2000 word essay and one 1500 word technical report submitted before the end of the Spring Term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of coursework. Only a 'pass' mark will be awarded. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 25 June 2018


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