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“Mt. Dioxin”-a numerical problem to teach engineering ethics

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2 Author(s)
Tsang, E. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, USA ; Reis, J.

This is a fictionalized case study involving an actual Superfund cleanup of an abandoned woodtreating facility adjacent to several African-American residential neighborhoods in southeastern United States. The ethical issues that are faced in making decisions involving insufficient data, which lies at the heart of the “Mt. Dioxin” case study, are presented from three different perspectives: Site Manager from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who has to make decisions that affect the lives of “real” people; the regional EPA engineer who recommends policy and makes decisions guided by legislation; and an engineer working for a private consulting company contracted to excavate the contaminated soil, whose job depends on the employer. The case history, soil sampling data and excerpts from EPA documents are included, together with numerical as well as ethical problems. This case is suitable for a junior-level fluid mechanics class, or a senior-level course on ethics and professionalism

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1996. FIE '96. 26th Annual Conference., Proceedings of  (Volume:3 )

Date of Conference:

6-9 Nov 1996