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R. Lawrence Swanson  

R. Lawrence Swanson
Associate Dean, SoMAS
Director, Waste Reduction and Management Institute

Ph.D., 1971, Oregon State University


Coastal oceanography, marine pollution, marine policy, recycling and reuse of waste materials, waste management

Research Interests

My broad research interests concern reducing the impact of waste generation on society. In the context of the ocean, this translates to understanding and identifying the appropriate use of the ocean as part of a comprehensive waste management strategy.

I have been interested in the consequences of urban population centers and their infrastructure and waste management practices on coastal waters. Sewage, storm water, and municipal solid waste all have pronounced impacts. In some cases, near-field, short-term effects of these polluting activities have been reduced with advancing technologies; but the far-field, long-term effects are not well understood. Hypoxia, floatable wastes, and cycling of contaminants are major causes of impaired economic and societal uses of coastal resources. My interests have been in using scientific understanding of these issues, within the context of societal costs, to help influence and formulate sound public policy.

The development of secondary materials - materials made from post-consumer waste into new products that have different forms and uses than the original products - is a promising and growing means of reusing waste materials. Understanding the engineering properties, environmental, and public health effects, and the economic and social barriers associated with these materials is important. It is my desire to expand the work that the WRMI has been doing in this area so that we might help create cost- effective, beneficial markets for society's residue.

Selected Publications

Breslin, V.T., R.L. Swanson and S. Reaven. (in prep) Engineering and environmental properties of plastic lumber used in marine construction.

R.L. Swanson and R.E. Wilson. Perspectives of long-term hypoxic conditions in Long Island Sound. Submitted to Estuaries.

Swanson, R.L., M.L. Bortman, T.P. O’Connor, and H.M. Stanford. 2004. Science, policy and the management of sewage materials, the New York City experience. Marine Pollution Bulletin 49:679-687.

R.L. Swanson. 2004. Garbage Crisis. Long Island must act now to avoid coming trash crunch. Opinion. Long Island Newsday. July 20, 2004. p. A33.

R.L. Swanson and D.F. Squires. 2002. Ellis Island, New York and New Jersey. New York History Journal.

Swanson, R.L., V.T. Breslin, and M.L. Bortman. 2001. Recycling technology: plastics. In: McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 9th edition.

Swanson, R.L. and D.J. Tonjes. 2001. New York City 2000 Regional Harbor Survey. New York City Department of Environmental Protection. 98 pp.

Swanson, R.L. and D.J. Tonjes. 2001. Water conservation cleans Long Island Sound. Clearwaters. Summer Vol. 31, No. 2.

Swanson, R.L., D.J. Tonjes, N. Georgas, and B.W. Stephens. 2000. New York City 1999 Regional Harbor Survey. New York City Department of Environmental Protection. 107 pp.

D.J. Tonjes and R.L. Swanson. 2000. How do we measure them? Lessons from Long Island on computing recycling rates. Journal of Urban Technology 7(3):63-79.

R.L. Swanson. 2000. A history of ocean dumping. MSRC Bulletin. 1(9):1-8. State University of New York, Stony Brook.

Swanson, R.L. 1999. Reuse of lead from dental X-rays. The New York State Dental Journal. 65(3):34-36.

Liberti, L., M. Notarnicola, V. Amicarelli, V. Campanaro, F. Roethel, and L. Swanson. 1998. Mercury removal with PAC from flue gases at the Coriano MSW incineration plant. Waste Management and Research. 16(2):183-189.



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