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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BENEFITS AND RISKS OF USING WASTE FOUNDRY SAND FOR AGRICULTURAL AND HORTICULTURAL APPLICATIONS Project Number: 1265-12000-035-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: May 17, 2005
End Date: May 16, 2010

Objective:
Each year, foundries in the U.S. landfill several million tons of waste sand that can no longer be used to make metalcasting molds and cores. These waste foundry sands are potentially useful as a soil amendment and ingredient in manufactured soils; however, potentially harmful organics and trace metals in the sands may adversely impact the health of humans and the environment. The objective of this project is to ensure that waste foundry sands can be safely used in manufactured soils and related applications.

Approach:
The first part of this study will focus on the identification and quantification of potentially hazardous organics and trace metals in waste sands from ferrous and non-ferrous foundries. As organics and/or trace metals of environmental concern are identified, studies will be conducted to determine their movement potential. Major routes of transport will be investigated and lead to management practices to reduce or eliminate their transport. Blending waste sands with organic amendments will be investigated as a potential means to mitigate these constituents. Investigations will also be conducted to determine if waste foundry sands present a risk to commonly used biological indicators, including soil microorganisms, earthworms, and plants. Bioaccessible trace metals in waste foundry sands, associated with human exposure, will be assessed using an in vitro gastrointestinal method. Finally, to assess the suitability of using waste foundry sands in horticultural and agricultural settings, data from the above mentioned studies will be used to develop a comprehensive risk assessment.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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