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Research Project: Enhancing Production and Ecosystem Services of Horticultural and Agricultural Systems in the Southeastern United States

Location: Soil Dynamics Research

Title: What are the environmental implications of FGD gypsum use in agriculture?

item Watts, Dexter
item Torbert, Henry - Allen

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2019
Publication Date: 11/10/2019
Citation: Watts, D.B., Torbert III, H.A. 2019. What are the environmental implications of FGD gypsum use in agriculture?[abstract]. American Society of Agronomy Meetings. CD ROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Reducing sulfur dioxide emissions from the flue (exhaust) gas at coal fired power plants generates a synthetic gypsum called flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum. Presently, there are large quantities of flue gas desulfurization gypsum being produced due to increased environmental regulations on the burning of high sulfur coal. Similar to mined sources of gypsum, FGD gypsum can be used as a fertility source for crop production, to remediate sodic soils, to improve soil structure and infiltration, and to reduce sediment and nutrient loss in runoff. As a result, interest in using FGD gypsum as a low-cost alternative to mined sources has increased. Concurrently, research evaluating if there are risk pathways associated with this synthetic gypsum has also been implemented. No identifiable environmental risks from the beneficial use of FGD gypsum in agricultural systems have been reported. What’s more, this research has shown that reductions in P losses from agricultural fields can be achieved. This presentation reviewed the environmental benefits of FGD gypsum use as a soil amendment.