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J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 418
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 12:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Am starting to hear some buzz that the EPA may classify fly ash as a hazardous material. My sources are a little hazy on the why of such an action, but it seems like the material may contain some heavy metals or other stuff depending on the source. This is a link to a story now 2 months old from ENR: http://enr.construction.com/opinions/editorials/2010/0414-FlyAshDilemma.asp

Anyone heard any more?
Mark Gilligan SE,
Senior Member
Username: mark_gilligan

Post Number: 283
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 12:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I saw a recent article that I just skimmed on this. I believe that you will find that when used in building materials that fly ash will not be considered a hazardous material.
George A. Everding, AIA, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: geverding

Post Number: 535
Registered: 11-2004

Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 12:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Personally, I am less concerned about the minimal amount of flyash in some concrete mixes than I am about this www.dhmo.org hazardous material that is, my structural engineer friends tell me, about 1/6 of the volume of all concrete.
George A. Everding AIA CSI CCS CCCA
Cannon Design - St. Louis, MO
Bruce Maine
Username: bmaine

Post Number: 3
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 01:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The dihydrogen monoxide hoax involves the use of an unfamiliar name for water, then listing some negative effects of water, then asking individuals to help control the seemingly dangerous substance. The hoax is designed to illustrate how the lack of scientific literacy and an exaggerated analysis can lead to misplaced fears.[1] "Dihydrogen monoxide", shortened to "DHMO", is a name for water that is consistent with chemical nomenclature, but that is almost never used.
Marc C Chavez
Senior Member
Username: mchavez

Post Number: 383
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 01:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


George was making a joke. Nothing is unfair or out of bounds in a parody.

On the previous topic, maybe encasing the heavy metals and other items in fly ash in concrete would be a good way of sequestering them. Just a thought - or better yet use the fly ash to make concrete to line the sides of the hazmat dumps. They need liners don’t they. I see some creative marketing could solve this problem.

PS I live for danger I drink DHMO every day straight from a cup filled from a (gasp) public water supply!
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wayne_yancey

Post Number: 335
Registered: 01-2008

Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 01:57 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

DHMO. Scourge of the earth, particlulary to farmers in the high prairies in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Texas. Kept the soil from blowing to Washington DC and NYC.

In the PNW, DHMO falls from the skies and infiltrates the storm sewers that lead to salmon streams. Is this OK?

I also gets on my face while riding my motorcycle. I wear PPE.

It's attacks buiding enclosures.

However, it's constituent components makes the lawn green and plants grow.
Dave Metzger
Senior Member
Username: davemetzger

Post Number: 357
Registered: 07-2001
Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 01:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Maybe the heavy metals and other items in fly ash in concrete should be encased in ***PVC*** since it does not degrade.

This is also a joke, folks
Steven Bruneel, AIA, CSI-CDT, LEED-AP
Senior Member
Username: redseca2

Post Number: 237
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 02:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

A very green city project manager, trying to be very environmentally green was bemoaning to me why the engineer had specified PVC (evil) waterstops.

I comforted him and assuaged his fears by convincing him that maybe permanently entombing that nasty PVC within the 18-inch thick foundation walls was the only safe way to get rid of them.
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 960
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 03:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

our job as teachers just never ends, does it?
and fly ash will now become the building equivalent of a Woody Allen joke: its good, its very good; its bad; its very bad; until it becomes so expensive that no one uses it anymore. All those architectural offices that bragged about using 50% fly ash mixes? now on the "hazardous pollution" lists.
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 1094
Registered: 03-2002

Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 - 06:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Speaking of dangerous sustainable products......

Have you read about the health effects of crumb rubber in synthetic fields?
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 420
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Saturday, June 05, 2010 - 11:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Yuk, yuk, yuk...

I take it no one has seen anything more on the fly ash scare?
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 411
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Saturday, June 05, 2010 - 01:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Michael Chusid seems to know a bit about this; he wrote an article for CS about a brick that uses a large amount of fly ash. Perhaps he might join the conversation.
(Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, June 05, 2010 - 11:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I suppose that EPAs primary concerns are unlined landfill disposal of coal ash and its toxic heavy metals that have been contaminating ground water. I recently raised this (fly ash) question to a PA; this was right after 60 Minutes had a story on landfill coal ash contaminating ground water. The response I received (from S.E. via PA) was essentially that fly ash is "encapsulated", coal ash in landfill is not the same, and the large amount of energy saved in "not producing" fly ash-replaced materials (for LEED credit). If EPA does proceed with classifying coal ash as hazardous, will that also "catch" fly ash in the same "net"?
But my question is also, what happens at end-of-life, when concrete-containing fly ash is demolished? Does the concrete debris (which contains toxic heavy metals-bearing fly ash) need to be handled as hazardous material? What about sawcutting during any dust-producing alterations? Might this also apply to Calstar's fly ash "brick"?
Michael Chusid, FCSI (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, June 06, 2010 - 01:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this discussion. First, I need to disclose that I am a paid consultant to a company commercializing a fly ash brick, and have in the past been a consultant to a major fly ash distributor and to manufacturers of concrete products with high fly ash content. I don't think this has clouded my professional judgment, but it is important to know where I am coming from.

My understanding of the current EPA ruling is that fly ash as a raw material can be a hazardous material, but that the material can be used as an ingredient in other products that produce a beneficial result. There is much wisdom in this policy, and I will try to explain my understanding as it relates to cemetitious products.

Fly ash is a pozzolan; when used in a mixture with portland cement or calcium hydroxide (lime), pozzolans react chemically to form calcium silicate hydrates (CSH). CSH is the same compound formed by portland cement when it cures.

In other words, we take a potentially toxic material (flyash), and convert it to a well known and widely used construction material.

While there are trace amounts of heavy metals in fly ash, they are at about the same levels found in soils. More, whatever heavy metals that do exist in fly ash become locked into the crystalline structure of CSH (concrete) where they are less available to do harm.

Fly ash processors must take precautions to prevent the escape of ash during handling operations. The manufacturer of the fly ash brick gets its fly ash delivered in sealed tanker trucks and stores the material in sealed silos.

In my opinion, using flyash in cementitious building products is a much safer use of the material than stockpiling it in landfills or ponds near coal fired generation stations.

See http://calstarproducts.com/draft-epa-rules-promote-use-of-fly-ash-in-building-products-affirm-calstar-approach-calstar-products/ for further discussion.

You can also contact me directly at michael AT chusid DOT com or call me at 818 774 0003.
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 1095
Registered: 03-2002

Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010 - 08:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Here is some information on dangers of crumb rubber in synthetic fields:

faramir02 (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 08:26 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We can still use it in concrete without any problems. Don't freak out until you read the details.

Down by page 102
b. Beneficial Use In the May 2000 Regulatory Determination, EPA stated: “The Agency has concluded that no additional regulations are warranted for coal combustion wastes that are used beneficially .... We do not wish to place any unnecessary barriers on the beneficial use of fossil fuel combustion wastes so that they can be used in applications that conserve natural resources and reduce disposal costs.” ... EPA identified specific beneficial uses as covered by the May 2000 determination. In particular, EPA stated that: “Beneficial purposes include waste stabilization, beneficial construction applications (e.g., cement, concrete, brick and concrete products, road bed, structural fill, blasting grit, wall board, insulation, roofing materials), agricultural applications (e.g., as a substitute for lime) and other applications (absorbents, filter media, paints, plastics and metals manufacture, snow and ice control, waste stabilization).” (See 65 FR 32229) These beneficial uses are described in more detail in EPA’s Report to Congress on Wastes from the Combustion of Fossil Fuels in March 1999 (see Volume 2, Section 3.3.5).

To date, EPA has still seen no evidence of damages from the beneficial uses of CCRs that EPA identified in its original Regulatory Determination. For example, there is wide acceptance of the use of CCRs in encapsulated uses, such as wallboard, concrete, and bricks because the CCRs are bound into products. The Agency believes that such beneficial uses of CCRs offer significant environmental benefits.
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wayne_yancey

Post Number: 341
Registered: 01-2008

Posted on Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 10:20 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


The EPA website returns with message "ERROR PAGE: Sorry - that page doesn't exist"

Please check and repost.


faramir02 (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 12:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Sorry, here's the link.

(Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 01:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The complete URL is http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/industrial/special/fossil/ccr-rule/fr-corrections.pdf
It wasn't that difficult to find.
But...the quoted/referenced paragraph is a statement in the URL-linked report. One needs to realize the context in which it is (re)stated. Can be misleading.
However, if one reads the the (beginning) Summary, this document is a "notice" that EPA is intending (proposing) to develop a rule and is soliciting comments, etc.; most of the document is (background-type) information.
...and the saga continues....

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