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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
2008 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
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. A report was provided to and the data are 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.


4.Accomplishments
1. National Study to Characterize Waste Foundry Sands Address concerns from the regulatory community 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. 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
None.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of Non-Peer Reviewed Presentations and Proceedings1

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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