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Use of Standardized Procedures to Evaluate Metal Leaching from Waste Foundry Sands

Roberto E. Miguel, James A. Ippolito, Atilio A. Porta, Roxana B. Banda Noriega, Robert S. Dungan
Journal of environmental quality 2013 v.42 no.2 pp. 615-620
barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, environmental hazards, extraction, hazardous waste, industrial wastes, landfill leachates, landfills, laws and regulations, leaching, lead, nickel, sand, silica, silver, toxicity, urethane, zinc, United States
As part of the casting process, foundries create sand molds and cores to hold the molten metal to specific dimensional tolerances. Although most of the waste foundry sands (WFSs) from this process are land filled, there is great interest in diverting them for use in agricultural and geotechnical applications. One potential limitation to their beneficial use is concern that the WFSs will leach high levels of trace metals. The aim of this study was to quantify Ag, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn in leaching extracts from 96 waste molding and core sands from ferrous and nonferrous foundries. The procedures used to assess leaching in the WFSs were the Extraction Procedure, the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure, and the American Society for Testing and Materials water extraction procedure. The metal extract concentrations were compared with those found in virgin silica sands and Argentinean and U.S. hazardous waste laws to determine if the WFSs met toxicity limits. Regardless of metal cast and sand binder type, the majority of the WFS extracts analyzed contained metal concentrations similar to those found in virgin sand extracts and were below levels considered hazardous. However, 4 of 28 sands that used alkyd urethane binder were deemed hazardous because Pb concentrations in these sands were found to exceed regulatory thresholds. Although other regulated metals, such as As, Hg, and Se, were not analyzed in the extracts, this dataset provides additional evidence that many WFSs have a low metal leaching potential.