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The 33rd Symposium on Environmental & Sanitary Engineering Research Special Session - The Great East Japan Earthquake: what environmental & sanitary engineering can do now.

Date: July 29, 2011
Venue: Jin-yu Hall, C-Cluster, Kyoto University Katsura Campus, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan

Organized by:
Association of Environmental & Sanitary Engineering Research

Co-organized by:
- Kyoto University Global COE Program "Global Center for Education and Research on Human Security Engineering for Asian Megacities"
- Kyoto University International Center for Human Resource Development in Environmental Management "Environmental Management Leader"

Number of attendants: more than 100

Report 163


The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011. Varied assistance has been provided for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the damaged area. Environmental and sanitary problems, including water supply, wastewater treatment, disaster waste management, and radiation derived from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plants, are urgent and remain unresolved. As a project of the 33rd symposium on Environmental & Sanitary Engineering Research, a special session on the Great East Japan Earthquake was held at Jin-yu Hall on July 29, 2011. The purpose of this session was to share information about the present status of environmental and sanitary issues caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and to discuss the future plans with respect to each issue. Additionally, an exchange of information on the latest and most practical environmental engineering and technologies that are oriented towards solving health risk issues in Asian countries was held based on presentations in the poster session.


In the special session, four presentations were given. First, Assoc. Prof. Nagahisa Hirayama (Kyoto University) gave a presentation titled “Damages, emergency responses, and future issues of the water supply system after the 2011 Tohoku Disaster.” In his presentation, he stated that it was very difficult to determine what damage had been caused to the water supply system in the initial aftermath of this earthquake. Therefore, he emphasized the importance of developing predictions for damage to water supply systems following earthquakes before future disasters occur.
Second, Mr. Seiichiro Okamoto (Public Works Research Institute) gave a presentation titled "The impact on public health associated with the earthquake disaster on sewer systems and its measurement." In his presentation, he showed that over 100 each of wastewater treatment facilities and pump stations, and pipes and drains were damaged extensively by this earthquake. He mentioned that the elimination of sewage is the most important issue during the immediate response and that the rehabilitation of other infrastructure such as water and gas supply generates renewed sewage issues that require attention.
Third, Dr. Hidetaka Takigami (National Institute for Environmental Studies) gave a presentation titled "Current status and future perspectives on countermeasures for disaster wastes." He mentioned three points: the qualitative and quantitative properties of wastes derived from this earthquake and the resultant tsunami, the current status and future plans for disaster waste treatment (waste exposed to seawater or radiation derived from Fukushima NP), and approaches by the Japan Society of Material Cycles and Waste Management to disaster waste management.
Finally, Assoc. Prof. Tomoyuki Takahashi (Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute) gave a presentation titled "Radionuclides in the environment and radiation effects from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident." He mentioned the radiation-exposure pathway, radiation protection standards, current status of radiation emissions and contamination, and radiation standards for various media at the site of the nuclear disaster. The discussion focused on radiation-exposed waste treatment. We shared a common understanding that strong collaboration among the ministries of Japan is the most important factor involved in solving these problems. In the poster session, thirteen poster presentations by doctoral students in the Human Security Engineering Education Program were presented, engendering lively discussions of practical environmental engineering technologies that are oriented toward solutions for practical problem as well as in-field-oriented policies.

Discussion at the symposium