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January 2004

Foundry Waste Given New Life

Permit Proposal Excludes Brass and Bronze

Harrisburg, PA— Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty proposed expanding the use of foundry sand from ferrous and steel foundries to encourage the development of new markets that could provide financial and environmental benefits for companies in Pennsylvania.

“Iron and steel foundries for years have had very limited options for the disposal of their waste sand,” Secretary McGinty said. “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.”

Secretary McGinty made the announcement at the 25th annual seminar for the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (APC) and Department of Transportation in Hershey. The event brings together highway construction contractors and engineers, materials suppliers, and state highway officials to discuss regulatory, engineering, safety and environmental issues.

While foundry sand can be used under an existing industry wide general permit for beneficial use, the use is limited to roadway construction material or as a component or ingredient in the manufacturing of concrete or asphalt products. A general permit for beneficial use 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 Secretary proposed a statewide general permit that would expand that use and authorize waste foundry system sand and sand system dust - generated by ferrous metal foundries and steel foundries with ISO 14001 certification or other third-party audited environmental management system certifications - for construction material or soil additives. The change will allow the use of foundry sand as base or sub-base under roads, sidewalks, parking lots, athletic fields and buildings.

Brass and bronze foundries are not included in the proposed permit due to potentially high levels of copper and lead in the waste sand from these facilities.

Notices of the proposed general permit are published in the November 29, 2003 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. DEP will conduct a 60-day public review and comment period on the permit, which also will be available for review on the department’s website.

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