are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: gerry_g On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:22 am

Pacowy wrote:
The cite you provided doesn't say anything about your "washing" theory, and makes what I view as deceptive characterizations of TCLP. AFAIK TCLP has been used by EPA for close to 40 years. The fact that some anti-coal zealots prefer some other method that happens to show that the world is going to end due to coal ash doesn't really interest me. EPA's own website states flat out that it uses TCLP and that heavy metals in coal ash rarely trigger the long-established hazmat criteria - http://www.epa.gov/waste/nonhaz/industr ... letter.htm . You, like the people you quote, don't seem to like the fact that the same criteria that successfully identified legitimate heavy metals problems with other substances find no such problems with coal ash. So instead of accepting that and moving on, you conjure up reasons why the testing procedures need to be changed.

Of course, that begs the question, if you really believe that leaching toxins from coal ash are a serious problem, why are you putting them in your driveway?


In response, noting I advocate using good clean NEPA anthracite for heat:

I previously mentioned between clean anthracite and what power plants typically use. I quickly switched from the supplier that sent me something other than clean as most NEPA anthracite is.

You cite the EPA yet ignore the EPA, explicitly "When EPA tests coal ash using a new, more accurate leach test, the resulting leachate can exceed hazardous waste thresholds." (with reference) The fact the the EPA used something for 40 years, and then the same agency has a new test. Somethings science does improve over time. Leaching has everything to do with how fast materials and how much is actually released. You view some things as deceptive which I do not view as deceptive.

Why do power plants even need containment facilities if their ash is so clean?

You ignored I clearly stated I was "middle of the road" Thus I choose to use NEPA anthracite ash from a reputable supplier (noting my one bad experience) in modest quantities but not where it might risk my produce.

We have different opinions, that happens. I'm still haply warming myself with PA anthracite, just not eating or drinking its residue!

I'd recommend clean anthracite heat to anyone!!! I would also never suggest intentionally using its CCRs for personal food production. large peanut growers use lots of fly ash but they have the $ to actually test what they are using and their product.
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: Flyer5 On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:49 am

Carbon12 wrote:Coal ash does contain trace amounts of several heavy metals. Not hazardous amounts but trace amounts, none the less. Probably not a health concern but,.........



So does top soil and water.
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:51 am

That's true. My only point is, why add something of questionable value to the garden if you don't have to. It's not like coal ash will help you grow blue ribbon zucchini.
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:11 pm

Carbon12 wrote: It's not like coal ash will help you grow blue ribbon zucchini.

It may actually do just that if your soil is too high pH wise.
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: Flyer5 On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:23 pm

Carbon12 wrote:That's true. My only point is, why add something of questionable value to the garden if you don't have to. It's not like coal ash will help you grow blue ribbon zucchini.



The tomatoes are tasty. :D
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:29 pm

You should show them at the Pittston tomato festival! :D
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: Pacowy On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:35 pm

gerry_g wrote: You cite the EPA yet ignore the EPA, explicitly "When EPA tests coal ash using a new, more accurate leach test, the resulting leachate can exceed hazardous waste thresholds." (with reference) The fact the the EPA used something for 40 years, and then the same agency has a new test. Somethings science does improve over time. Leaching has everything to do with how fast materials and how much is actually released. You view some things as deceptive which I do not view as deceptive.

Why do power plants even need containment facilities if their ash is so clean?

You ignored I clearly stated I was "middle of the road" Thus I choose to use NEPA anthracite ash from a reputable supplier (noting my one bad experience) in modest quantities but not where it might risk my produce.

We have different opinions, that happens. I'm still haply warming myself with PA anthracite, just not eating or drinking its residue!

I'd recommend clean anthracite heat to anyone!!! I would also never suggest intentionally using its CCRs for personal food production. large peanut growers use lots of fly ash but they have the $ to actually test what they are using and their product.


You're putting the Sierra Club's words in EPA's mouth.

Utilities need containment facilities because coal combustion residues are one of if not the largest single streams of solid wastes. They have been handled for decades in large quantities at numerous locations without producing substantial environmental concerns. With one engineering failure at one facility, the anti-coal people thought they had a sound bite they can sell. Apparently they were right, because you bought it.

Like basically all of the other supposed facts you've tossed into this discussion, the proposition that it costs too much for private citizens to have soil tested is demonstrably wrong. The basic UMass soil test, which includes lead, is $10. Comprehensive heavy metals testing is readily available for $35 or less. If you had any genuine concern about the contaminants in question, you would be performing such tests before you eat anything out of your garden. Multiple cites presented in this thread document the real and substantial sources of heavy metals contamination - not coal ash - that may already have affected the soil in your garden. Farmers do test their soils, and the fact is that the use of coal ash in food production has been found to be beneficial, and is widely practiced, with the full awareness of USDA and EPA.

Is there a reason you can't just leave it as your personal preference to leave coal ash out of your garden? The more you try to make a case that it's "right" to do so, the bigger the collection of falsehoods and inconsistencies you seem to be generating.

Mike
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: gerry_g On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:14 pm

Mike,

You ignored I clearly stated I was "middle of the road" Thus I choose to use PA anthracite from a reputable supplier (and recommend PA coal heat to others). I have a great stove with great manufacturer support I use modest quantities of it's ash but not where it might risk my produce. I noted one bad batch of crud from a dealer I will no longer do business with. That one bad experience established my desire to be cautious, particularly since my soil does not need mechanical conditioning.

Pacowy wrote:You're putting the Sierra Club's words in EPA's mouth.


If the article had not explicitly referenced a specific EPA document (the first foot note) you might have had a point regarding regarding what I called an extreme organization putting their words in the EPA's mouth.

You make a very rash assumption I didn't have my soil tested! In my area, had it been used as an orchard (most common problem) or some other agriculture prior to the 1960's it could well be loaded with arsenic, a common ingredient in insecticides used in the first half or the 1900's (5 decades). When I bought the land for my home I knew it's previous use was agricultural (hay field) until 1962. Actually I had a delay as testing by individuals was hard to come by at the time and the persistence of insecticide arsenic was then not well documented.

There have been so many falsehoods such in this thread ignoring rational concerns, Such one suggesting coal and fiberglass being used in fish tank filters, there are no contaminants to watch for in any coal ash, water filtration coal is "just coal" ignoring the QA and then mentioned how the expensive it was....

Pacowy wrote:Is there a reason you can't just leave it as your personal preference to leave coal ash out of your garden?

I previous stated "We have different opinions, that happens." Is there a reason you can't accept a rational discussion with differing concerns or newer data? I feel differing points of view can be educational.

As a reminder: I already stated I'd recommend quality eastern PA coal heat to others

gerry
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: carlherrnstein On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:31 pm

Burning coal concentrates whatever heavy metals are there. Also coal is a product that comes from the ground so whatever was on top of the coal would have leached into the coal. So its bound to have something nasty in it, however its not contaminated waste or is it any more dangerous than any other fine mineral product such as "crusher run". The bottom line is I would not put crusher run on my garden unless I had a acid problem, and I also would not put coal ash on my garden unless I thought it might benefit the soil somehow.
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: Pacowy On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:50 pm

Gerry,

It doesn't matter what you call yourself. Your rhetoric and "logic" on these coal ash points mimics (and sometimes explicitly cites) the Sierra Club and others with anti-coal agendas. I think you've already conceded that they are far from middle-of-the-road, so it seems like you're trying to have it both ways there.

I'll stick with my observations about the methodologies. The fact that someone may have looked at other methodologies hasn't stopped the EPA from openly acknowledging the almost complete absence of harmfulness found when standard tests are applied to coal ash.

Speaking of standard tests, I did assume that you hadn't had your soil tested, based on your continued paranoia about coal ash, and your statement to the effect that testing to clarify the actual heavy metal content of soils (with or without ash) is beyond the financial means of homeowners. With your clarification that you have used such tests, it seems like we're getting to the point where everybody's views have been pretty fully explained. If I can paraphrase, you use soil tests to provide peace of mind for yourself, but you're advising others not to use the same soil tests to reach their own conclusions regarding coal ash. And certainly not to dwell on the fact that farmers have found beneficial uses for coal ash that are consistent with whatever guidelines and standards may be applied by USDA, EPA, and - perhaps most importantly - the farmers' own lawyers. Once again, you and the Sierra Club put the agenda before the evidence, to the detriment of your credibility with people who would prefer to make decisions based on facts rather than dogma.

Mike
Last edited by Pacowy on Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: Pacowy On: Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:16 pm

carlherrnstein wrote:Burning coal concentrates whatever heavy metals are there. Also coal is a product that comes from the ground so whatever was on top of the coal would have leached into the coal. So its bound to have something nasty in it, however its not contaminated waste or is it any more dangerous than any other fine mineral product such as "crusher run". The bottom line is I would not put crusher run on my garden unless I had a acid problem, and I also would not put coal ash on my garden unless I thought it might benefit the soil somehow.


AFAIK it's not accurate to generalize that burning concentrates the heavy metals. Some elements wind up in compounds that enter the flue gas stream. I believe mercury is an example of that, and flue gas treatments have been developed to capture (or at least materially reduce) such emissions. Other elements may well become more concentrated if they don't enter the flue gas stream. Either way, the actual concentrations of heavy metals can be analyzed through testing, so speculation isn't needed.

One of the things I've learned from investigating issues raised in this thread is that the beneficial uses for coal ash in agriculture are much greater than I previously would have expected. This parallels the experience I previously had investigating possible use of coal ash in concrete. While I started out viewing coal ash as a cheap filler/waste material, research has found that in some circumstances it can improve the measured performance of concrete when substituted for up to 20-30% of the normal input of portland cement.

Mike
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: gerry_g On: Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:22 pm

Pacowy wrote:Gerry,

It doesn't matter what you call yourself. Your rhetoric and "logic" on these coal ash points mimics (and sometimes explicitly cites) the Sierra Club and others with anti-coal agendas. I think you've already conceded that they are far from middle-of-the-road, so it seems like you're trying to have it both ways there.

I'll stick with my observations about the methodologies. The fact that someone may have looked at other methodologies hasn't stopped the EPA from openly acknowledging the almost complete absence of harmfulness found when standard tests are applied to coal ash


Mike,

You continue to suggest "I want it both ways" The very opposite is true, I don't accept or dismiss rational arguments easily when rational support is provided. I really don't care about the source is or have an "agenda" in this discussion.

If you look through the thread I've introduced useful ash usage such as large scale constructive agricultural use of ash in some peanut farming and soil mechanical conditioning. But those usages are usually associated with careful QA. The radical folks would make sure "contaminated produce" was recalled quickly or at least cause financial losses to the producer just by word of mouth (internet or radical media).

When someone else mentioned "I paid $80 for a 40# bag of "activated carbon", and stated it was marked as "pulverized anthracite." that was a inaccurate in that it was just pulverized anthracite. Who the heck would pay that price to grind anthracite? It was almost certain activated carbon derived from carefully selected and processed (or it wouldn't be activated) then tested from an anthracite base. That is it only thing I can fantasize that explains it's cost. It most likely had the same outside size as the anthracite used to make it, but activated carbon must be very porous which anthracite is not. The Japanese dominate the "fish tank" market (which started the activated carbon discussion) and happen to usually "activate" coconut shell charcoal.

You have never see me write against ash being used if bound such as in drywall or concrete. The only bad example I know of was been imported Chinese drywall which emitted very high amounts of radon. That made for a very expensive recall since significant amounts were already in occupied houses. BTW, radon is only a hazard if inhaled or ingested. There are limits set by OSHA and for residences (where a child might sleep). Radon was ignored for decades because it emits alpha particle radiation which wont even make it through human skin. But it was discovered (originally in miners) alpha particles can damage dividing cells when internal to the body and they can be very carcinogenic. Cells have very thin walls when dividing and alpha particles can penetrate them causing DNA damage.

A change in research methods led to this discovery.

I don't care what the "source" is, Sierra Club, EPA, or the Coal Industry. My agenda is understanding. The important thing to me does the "information" have either credible proof or, credible questions to research and consider (before any action).

You state the EPA has stated the complete "harmfulness found when standard tests are applied to coal ash" yet ignore more recent EPA tests indicates cases where ash leaches harmful contaminant levels.

Your sticking with 40+ year old methodologies and not even considering humans can learn to do things better over time seems naive. I believe we can learn, if not we still would have very nasty produce from arsenic used in pesticides or even learn how to burn anthracite! ( Arsenic is a particular well documented issue still with old orchards on NH and northern MA where the local conditions have not cleansed the soil in 50+ years.

Basically I believe in diverse sources of information and evaluate each of interest or affect (to me) and pursue those that have any credible basis. On occasion, some off the wall stuff for the humor.

My choice to keep coal ash out of my garden is that it adds no mechanical value to my soil, my soil is already acid (thus I would need to by even more limestone) and most important, I have no control what is in the ash. To me, my choice was validated by one load that didn't look like all other anthracite I ever bought and left unexpected ash. That tells me it would be too late to retest my garden soil if what I can't control what is added. This is a personal choice. I also have no way of knowing how quickly my soil will self cleanse or accumulate contaminants, only that nearby, it does not self cleanse well.

You are free to your opinions, as am I. In reality, we must all use what information we feel is best for each of us.

gerry
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: freetown fred On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:09 am

P, let it go. I have an acquaintance that constantly feels the need to have the last word on things. He tends to begin a discussion with some pertinent opinions fairly well documented But as things progress, it is quite obvious that he begins really scraping the bottom of the didactic barrel. I found that if I just opt. not to banter anymore, he usually goes away. Just an old farmers thoughts. PS--gg, soil is far from mechanical. Just sayin:)
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: Pacowy On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:18 am

freetown fred wrote:P, let it go. I have an acquaintance that constantly feels the need to have the last word on things. He tends to begin a discussion with some pertinent opinions fairly well documented But as things progress, it is quite obvious that he begins really scraping the bottom of the didactic barrel. I found that if I just opt. not to banter anymore, he usually goes away. Just an old farmers thoughts. PS--gg, soil is far from mechanical. Just sayin:)


Thanks, farmer! Once that edit button disappears the thread speaks for itself.

Mike
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Re: are coal ashes ok to spread on lawn or in vegetable garden?

PostBy: gerry_g On: Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:42 am

freetown fred wrote:P, let it go.


Sounds great, you left a banter or direct attack out, so will I!
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