ZWA ASKS: Is it a good idea to put contaminated fly ash into building materials and fertilizer? Is the government testing this ash? Apparently not.
According to Peter Montegue, coal companies fly ash include lead, arsenic, and cadmium. Fly ash is not a benign waste. Source: Rachel's #20
A Pollutant, 'Scrubber Sludge' Finds a Market.
Two companies, Caraustar Industries and Babb Cellular Concrete
use the sulfur and fly ash to make construction products
Farmers are also buying the residue-called "scrubber sludge"- because it helps increase crop yields. "Wherever you put that stuff," said Ken Curtis, owner of a fertilizer business in Illinois, "it just greens up."
In the past, power companies usually buried the sludge in landfills, incurring liabilities. Now the Tennessee Valley Authority makes from $6 to $10 million annually on sales of the byproduct. "We're turning a deficit into a positive number," said Cheri Miller, a TVA marketing specialist.
Ralph Woodward, a farmer from Carlisle, Indiana has a farm by
a power plant. Woodward thought that the scrubbing process
Dr. Norton found that the sludge could increase crop yields and reduce water-pollution runoff by increasing the soil's capacity to hold rainwater.
The use of the sludge on some farmland has been approved by federal and some state environmental agencies. It has been slow to sell however. "It's an education process. Farmers have never heard of it."
The construction industry also was looking at ways to use the
sludge containing calcium sulfate. The mineral, also known as
A power plant near Jacksonville, Florida began selling sludge
to farmers in the late 1980s. Soon after, a wallboard company
bought their entire output. "If we had more, they'd probably
take that too," says Jay Worley, an official at the
Indianapolis Power and Light Company sells about 300 tons a
year from one plant. Some of their other plants are being
SOURCE: Enviro-Newsbrief October 5, 1998