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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
2010 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
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.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
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.


3.Progress Report
This is a final report on the benefits and risks of using waste foundry sand for agricultural and horticultural applications. Completed the risk guideline document for the use of foundry sand in horticulture and presented to USEPA for approval. Published two peer reviewed papers on the beneficial use of foundry sand as a soil amendment. Soil formulations which included poultry feathers were evaluated as a media for growth and flowering of ornamental plants. A specific cooperative agreement between ARS and Purdue University was completed which resulted in the publication of two scientific journal articles.


4.Accomplishments
1. Completed greenhouse experiment evaluating potting soil formulations which included feathers for growth and flowering of ornamental plant production. Completed the risk guideline document for the use of foundry sand in horticulture and presented to USEPA for approval. Published two peer reviewed papers on the beneficial use of foundry sand as a soil amendment. Soil formulation did not negatively affect crop growth. In some cases, soil formulation stimulated growth.


Review Publications
De Koff, J.P., Lee, B.D., Dungan, R.S., Santini, J.B. 2010. Effect of Compost-, Sand-, or Gypsum-amended Waste Foundry Sands on Turfgrass Yield and Nutrient Content. Journal of Environmental Quality. 39:375-383.

Dayton, E.A., Whitacre, S.D., Dungan, R.S., Basta, N.T. 2010. Characterization of Physical and Chemical Properties of Spent Foundry Sands Pertinent to Beneficial Use in Manufactured Soils. Plant and Soil Journal. 329:27-33.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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