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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Ecological Revitalization Risk Evaluation for Beneficial Use of Fgd-Gypsum

Location: Crop Systems & Global Change

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To analyze soil, plant and water samples from EPA-ARS cooperative field test plots in GA, AL, and MS for nutrients and trace elements to support collection of data to conduct risk evaluation for beneficial use of FGD-Gypsum in Agriculture, and when data are collected to cooperate with EPA in conducting Risk Assessment for Beneficial Use of FGD-Gypsum.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Using existing equipment in EMBUL (Atomic Absorption; ICP-AES; ICP-MS; spectrophotometer), analyze nutrients and trace elements in gypsum, soil, plant and water samples from ARS field test plots in GA, AL, and MS to provide information needed for risk assessment of beneficial use of FGD-gypsum. During project, cooperate with US-EPA to conduct risk evaluation and collect and evaluate other information relevant to risk assessment for Beneficial Use of FGD-Gypsum. When data are collected, assist EPA in preparing Risk Assessment, responding to public review comments, and finalization of the Risk Assessment for Beneficial Use of FGD-Gypsum.


3.Progress Report:

The cooperating researchers met at Beltsville to review experiment progress and to discuss research plans and progress and maintained regular email communication about experiments in progress. EPA cooperators met at a field site to install test plots. Regular reports of progress were made to US-EPA. The success of the greenhouse tests led to the cooperative installation of a field demonstration test in Vermont and to the evaluation of methods to remediate soil Pb and other element risks at East Helena, MT near a smelter, and the New Idria mercury mine site in CA.

An additional topic was added to this cooperation during FY-2011, the risk assessment for beneficial use of Fluidized Gas Desulfurization Gypsum in agriculture. ARS and EPA have been conducting cooperative field tests of using Fluidized Gas Desulfurization Gypsum and poultry litter on pastures, with simulated rainfall runoff to evaluate runoff risks. Large numbers of water, soil, amendment, and forage samples have been generated in these experiments which will be analyzed using required quality and detection limits in the analyses.

The Vermont Asbestos Group Superfund site is 300 acres of barren ground serpentinite rock which has remained barren for over 50 years due to severe infertility and poor soil properties. Methods to achieve persistent revegetation of such sites are being tested in cooperation with the U.S.-Environmental Protection Agency and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Based on previous success, using composts and biosolids in remediation of metal toxic soils, revegetation mixtures were designed and tested in greenhouse pots to alleviate both infertility and toxicity of the site soils with grasses and legumes.


Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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