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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

2007 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 in green sands from ferrous and aluminum foundries (the background concentration of metals will also be determined in these samples). Once potential organics of environmental concern are identified, studies will be conducted to determine their extractability and movement potential from waste green sands and blended products. Major routes of transport of the organics will be investigated and lead to management practices to reduce or eliminate their transport. Blending the green sands with manures, biosolids or composts will be investigated as a potential means to mitigate these constituents. Lastly, investigations will be conducted to determine if green sand products present a risk to soil organisms and plants. Information obtained in these studies will help state and federal regulators in developing, reviewing and/or improving regulatory structures that simultaneously ensure environmental protection and encourage beneficial use of green sands.

A National study was performed to characterize waste foundry sands. Concerns from the regulatory community are being addressed that ferrous and non-ferrous waste foundry sands contain elevated levels of potentially toxic organics and trace metals. Total levels of trace metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and phenolics were determined, along with a determination of the leaching potential of trace metals. Our results showed that the majority of waste sands from iron, aluminum, and steel foundries contain low levels of organics, and trace metals levels are like those found in native soils. The data is currently being utilized by the USDA and USEPA to assess the risk of using waste foundry sands in agricultural and horticultural applications. If the waste sands are determined to be safe for agronomic applications this could save the foundry industry millions of dollars in disposal fees annually.

NP 206 Byproducts component Problem Area 1. Phytoavailability and Bioavailability of Nutrients, Trace Elements, and Xenobiotics in Byproducts Considered for Beneficial Use Product 1. Analysis of nutrients, trace elements and xenobiotics in byproducts being considered for beneficial use.

5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations

6.Technology Transfer

Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings1

Review Publications
Dungan, R.S. 2006. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and phenolics in ferrous and non-ferrous waste foundry sands. Journal of Residuals Science & Technology. 3:203-208.

Dungan, R.S., Dees, N.H. 2007. Use of Spinach, Radish, and Perennial Ryegrass to Assess the Availability of Metals in Waste Foundry Sands. Journal Of Water Air And Soil Pollution. 183:213-223.

Dungan, R.S., Reeves III, J.B. 2007. Near Infrared Spectroscopic Analysis of Foundry Moulding and Core Sands. Near Infrared Spectroscopy Journal. 15(3):189-194.

Dungan, R.S., Reeves III, J.B. 2007. Pyrolysis of Carbonaceous Foundry Sand Additives: Seacoal and Gilsonite. Thermochimica Acta. 183:213-223.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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