Environmental Engineering by Ruth F. Weiner and Robin A. Matthews (Auth.)

By Ruth F. Weiner and Robin A. Matthews (Auth.)

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PROBABILITY Extensive discussion of probability is beyond the scope of this text, and the reader is encouraged to consult a statistics text. Some basic considerations are in order, however. Probability is often confused with frequency, because frequencies are used to estimate probabilities in risk assessment. One such use is the estimate of the risk of being in an automobile accident. We have an excellent idea of the frequency in the United States of automobile accidents of varying severity, and we use these frequencies to predict automobile death risks: the consequence is death, and the probability is the frequency of fatal car accidents.

The energy from the sun is stored in the molecular structure of these compounds. Producers are often referred to as being in the first trophic (growth) level and are called autotrophs. The second category of organisms in an ecosystem includes the consumers, who use the energy stored during photosynthesis by ingesting the high-energy compounds. Consumers in the second trophic level use the energy of the producers directly. There may be several more trophic levels of consumers, each using the level below it as an energy source.

Allowable releases of pollutants are, in theory, restricted to amounts that ensure protection of the health of the entire population, including its most sensitive members. In many cases, however, such protection would mean zero release. The levels of release actually allowed taking technical and economic control feasibility into account. S. population. For nonthreshold pollutants, however, no such determination can be made. In these instances, there is no release level for which protection can be ensured for everyone, so a comparative risk analysis is necessary.

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