Are Coal Ashes Ok to Spread on Lawn or in Vegetable Garden?

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Pacowy
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 11:58 am

The 5 pages of discussion did not start with any claim that PA anthracite ash is "always good for produce", but rather a blanket statement that it should not be used because of heavy metal contamination issues. Five pages later we have basically zero evidence in support of that claim. The evidence says the presence of contaminants in coal and ash varies approximately as it does in nature, and that ash does not vary much if at all from uncontaminated soil in the concentrations of contaminants it contains. Use it as you would use sand or fine aggregates, and test it if you have any particular concerns. But don't be surprised if you find the heavy metals appear in your soil in higher concentrations than in the coal ash you might add to it.

Mike


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windyhill4.2
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 12:14 pm

Pacowy,good suggestion,let the worried among us get a chemical analysis done at a certified ,neutral lab & report back to us uninformed folks ,that should settle the matter.
David **** John14:6 Jesus saith unto him,"I am the way.the truth,and the life;no man cometh unto the father,but by me." Wise men sought for Jesus when he was born,wise men still seek Jesus today. Seek & you shall find.

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Carbon12
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 1:59 pm

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No matter where you go,......there you are.

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freetown fred
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 2:05 pm

Like I said in an earlier post---ya look hard enough you'll definitely find an article/study that supports whatever your thoughts might be. ;)
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

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Lightning
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 2:20 pm

Hey, I wonder if it has any Carbon 12 in it. .. :lol:

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carlherrnstein
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 2:25 pm

Or worse yet that evil radioactive carbon 14 :roll:
Now thank god for the media, for saving the day,
Putting it all into perspective in a responsible way

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Carbon12
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 2:29 pm

No matter where you go,......there you are.

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gerry_g
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 8:54 pm

One thing that has been grossly overlooked in this discussion is that coal ash is not like soil.

Just because it may have similar amounts of contaminants (or maybe even less) than some acceptable soil, one must account that soil has had thousands of years of rain to rinse out whatever AVAILABLE free toxins it has. That which remains will be mechanically or chemically bonded to a significant extent. Coal ash has had no such "long washing" and thus has a far higher rate of leaching chemicals.

Read my disclaimer under the link before ranting ;)

http://action.sierraclub.org/site/DocServer/coala ... docID=5283

It starts with:

"Myth #1: Coal ash is like dirt."

It is from what some consider a fairly extreme group but it does use references, it isn't just a "pull it out of my..." opinion.

Knee jerk reaction folks won't even consider such words that don't fit their preconceptions. Others will believe everything and those in between may think.

It also (as do most coal hazard articles) uses information from the most common coal used. Quality anthracite is far too expensive for most power generation. However, the accelerated leaching or "available contaminants" is clearly true for any ash.

Quality anthracite (if one knows they actually are getting that) is far cleaner to start with than what is used in most power plants.

As stated before, I am in the middle of the road. I do use my ash but won't trust it's high chemical release rates anywhere near my produce nor would I endanger a well if I had one in fairly porous soil.

To each their own, but don't compare soil contaminant quantity with that of ash which has much higher available contaminants.
Check your CO detector - It's nasty to wake up dead


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freetown fred
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 9:30 pm

So what you're saying is that anyone elses posted opinions or facts are pulled out of their--- & yours aren't. Just wonderin, don't seem right :)
"A people that values it's privileges above it's principals, soon loses both"--Dwight D Eisenhower

Pacowy
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 11:18 pm

gerry_g wrote:One thing that has been grossly overlooked in this discussion is that coal ash is not like soil.

Just because it may have similar amounts of contaminants (or maybe even less) than some acceptable soil, one must account that soil has had thousands of years of rain to rinse out whatever AVAILABLE free toxins it has. That which remains will be mechanically or chemically bonded to a significant extent. Coal ash has had no such "long washing" and thus has a far higher rate of leaching chemicals.
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/industrial/specia ... 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?

Mike

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Lightning
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 11:31 pm

Pacowy wrote:The cite you provided doesn't say anything about your "washing" theory,
I agree... This would imply that all dirt a few hundred feet down hasn't been "washed" in a while.. Is it higher in trace harmful elements too? What about well water that may be that deep.. Is it also contaminated?

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Carbon12
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 11:39 pm

This whole discussion is a load of manure,.....or at least it should be , :D coal ash has virtually no minerals which would be beneficial to growing plants, is acidic and does nothing to improve the quality of the soil. There is no reason to think adding it to a garden would result in anything beneficial to plants. If you want to help the garden, provide a good loamy soil and fertilize with well composted manure. If you feel the need to dispose of ash in the garden, have at it. I will spend my time providing the garden with materials that have a well established beneficial component.
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Lightning
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Post Sat. Feb. 01, 2014 11:50 pm

Carbon12 wrote: coal ash has virtually no minerals which would be beneficial to growing plants, is acidic and does nothing to improve the quality of the soil. There is no reason to think adding it to a garden would result in anything beneficial to plants.
Yes, this was also my argument a couple pages ago lol. :D
Carbon12 wrote: a load of manure,.....
is what the garden needs :lol:

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Post Sun. Feb. 02, 2014 12:17 am

ShawninNY wrote:Not good for food garden very high in heavy metals
Where does this information come from? I have seen coal ash, wood ash in gardens for my whole life and have never seen any truth to support this.
http://www.leisurelinestove.com


You know when people say it was "better back in my day"?

They were right.

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Carbon12
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Post Sun. Feb. 02, 2014 12:22 am

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,.........
No matter where you go,......there you are.


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