Pennsylvania Would Ease Foundry-Sand Restrictions

Permit change eyes broader use in construction projects

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is proposing expanded use of foundry sand from ferrous and steel foundries, as an inducement to new business development.

DEP secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said, "Iron and steel foundries for years have had very limited options for the disposal of their waste sand. This permit will relieve a financial burden on many foundries and keep the material out of landfills by providing alternate disposal options for a product that has beneficial uses. This administration is going to continue to review waste disposal regulations and permits to stimulate the economy and develop innovative ways to remove useable materials from the waste stream."

The proposed permit change does not extend to brass and bronze foundries, whose byproducts may include high levels of copper and lead.

Her announcement came at a meeting of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors and state Dept. of Transportation in Hershey.

Foundry sand can be used under an existing industry-wide general permit for beneficial use, but that use is limited to roadway construction material or as a component or ingredient in the manufacturing of concrete or asphalt products. This permit allows the use or reuse of waste for commercial and other purposes if the use does not harm or threaten public health, safety or the environment.

The proposed new permit would expand that use and authorize waste foundry system sand and sand system dust (i.e., generated by ferrous metal and steel foundries with ISO 14001 or other third-party audited environmental management system certifications) - for construction material or soil additives. Such a change means foundry sand could be used as base or sub-base for roads, sidewalks, parking lots, athletic fields, and buildings.

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