The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with a federal agency and a university issued a risk assessment stating that spent foundry sands used in soil-related applications are safe for humans and the environment.
The EPA in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Ohio State University released the report, concluding that foundry sands from iron, steel and aluminum foundries are not only safe but yield environmental benefits, according to a news release.
“There is potential for substantial growth in the recycling of silica-based spent foundry sands,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Our risk assessment concludes that the evaluated reuses are environmentally appropriate. Advancing the environmentally sound, beneficial use of industrial materials, such as spent foundry sands, provides substantial opportunities for addressing climate change and air quality, enhancing state, tribal and local partnerships, reducing costs, and working toward a sustainable future.”
The EPA estimated that the benefits of using foundry sand in those applications at the current rate would equal energy savings of the electricity consumption of 800 homes; the carbon dioxide equivalent of removing 840 cars from the road; and water savings of 7.8 million gallons.