EPA Offers Guide For Reuse Of Waste Sand

On Sept. 18, EPA released a guide to help states get more productive use out of millions of tons of sand discarded by the foundry industry.

The "State Toolkit for Developing Beneficial Reuse Programs for Foundry Sand" is designed to significantly increase the volume of sand that is reused from foundry operations, saving landfill capacity and protecting natural resources.

Foundry products are found in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, including transportation, construction, agricultural equipment and military weapon systems.

Each year, foundries, also known as metal casters, use about 100 million tons of sand to create molds for cast metal, but then dispose of about 10 million tons. Most of the disposed sand is not hazardous and could be reused in a variety of ways, including roadbeds, construction fill and cement manufacturing, according to the agency. However, barriers in state programs and the market result in only about one million tons (10 percent) being reused. For example, state barriers include the time required for approval of reuse requests, overly strict requirements for testing by-products proposed for reuse, and insufficient outreach on how to apply for the beneficial use activity.

While the toolkit can help states promote beneficial reuse of foundry sand, it also is helpful to states when starting or revising programs aimed at a much wider range of industrial byproducts, such as coal combustion by-products and construction and demolition debris.

For a copy of the toolkit and more information about beneficial reuse of foundry sand, visit http://www.epa.gov/sectors/metalcasting/foundry.html.

This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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