Ash Disposal?

This forum is for common products and questions such as chimney installations, CO detectors, coal bin designs and a variety of other general topics that do not fit into the other forums.
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Bulldogr6
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Post Wed. Jan. 07, 2009 10:05 am

That would be pretty darn dusty at first you would have to wear particulate respirator to do sanding. One it got wet you would probably have a sloppy mess that flew out in wet chunks.


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beatle78
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Post Wed. Jan. 07, 2009 11:01 am

Bulldogr6 wrote:That would be pretty darn dusty at first you would have to wear particulate respirator to do sanding. One it got wet you would probably have a sloppy mess that flew out in wet chunks.
yah, that's what I figured. That was my effort to "go green" :D

Time to head back into the think tank! :lol:

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gambler
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Post Wed. Jan. 07, 2009 12:05 pm

I just looked out the window to check my ash disposal system. It appears to be working fine. It is my 73yr old father spreading ashes on the ice covered 465ft long driveway. :D
Take Care and God Bless
Rick

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pret
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Post Wed. Jan. 07, 2009 12:50 pm

SICK!... but very functional! :D
Burning pea coal in a rebuilt 1954 AA - 130... ahhhhh - I'm feeling it!

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OldAA130
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Post Wed. Jan. 07, 2009 8:22 pm

This is an interesting discussion!

I've worked in the electric generation industry for a few years and spent most of that time in a coal plant in central PA. From my own personal experience studying coal ash to increase plant performance, I would not say that it makes a good companion to two slices of bread and some grape jelly. And as far as it being similar to soil, I've never worked in my garden wearing a resperator and full body suit plus obey the signs that say "absolutely no eating, drinking, or smoking". In the plant the areas exposed to ash are called "regulated areas".

The stuff is actually pretty nasty! The levels of arsenic are highly carcinogenic (that means the stuff causes cancer). But I would actually be much more concerned about the mercury and other heavy metals. Check out OSHA's website to find out how much this stuff is regulated to keep workers safe.

As far as the discussions about beneficial use of ashes from power plants, the standards are pretty stringent. In the plant where I worked the stuff was way too acidic (that's right, lower than pH5.5) which is the problem of most coal ash. Where coal ash is used for mine reclamation it is mixed with very high concentrations of lime (like 25+%) to raise the pH to acceptable levels. We could not do any of this so we did landfill the stuff. We spent millions of dollars installing liners and catching the rain water and run-off from the big pile of ash (we didn't just dump it on the ground in a pile). In the old days ash was used for all the reasons previously listed in this thread. It was thrown around like it was dirt. This is part of the reason PA has so many dead rivers and streams. Ahhhh, but those were the "good old days" of pcb's and asbestos too. We've learned a lot since then.

Beneficial use such as concrete and flowable fill are solids, I don't think there's much risk if the stuff isn't airborne or can't be absorbed into the skin.

Speaking of clinkers, I've fired thousands of rounds of 12ga shotgun to shoot the clinkers out of our boilers. Some clinkers I've seen were the size of two (2) school busses and had to be blasted out with dynamite. This is what happens when the fire in the boiler is too hot and the ashes "melt" and fuse together. We tested the coal to find its ash fusion temperature (suppliers had limits they had to meet).

Even still... I'd dump it on my driveway... I just wouldn't breath it in. :smoke:
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stockingfull
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Post Wed. Jan. 07, 2009 8:48 pm

:notsure:

Guess I'll just keep wearing my mask.

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cArNaGe
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Post Wed. Jan. 07, 2009 11:38 pm

It sure did come in handy on my ICE covered driveway today.

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Post Thu. Jan. 08, 2009 2:04 am

I fill up my john deere lawn tractor trailor with the ash and dump it on my neighbors property. :D


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LsFarm
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Post Thu. Jan. 08, 2009 2:24 am

OldAA130, that generation plant was burning Bituminous coal.. right?? Big difference from Anthracite.. I don't think there are many if any large generation plants using Anthracite,, Bituminous is just too cheap compared to Anth.

Greg L
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
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OldAA130
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Post Thu. Jan. 08, 2009 6:44 am

LsFarm wrote:OldAA130, that generation plant was burning Bituminous coal.. right?? Big difference from Anthracite.. I don't think there are many if any large generation plants using Anthracite,, Bituminous is just too cheap compared to Anth.

Greg L
Yes... they burn bituminous.

I've never performed elemental ash analysis on Anthracite. I will though... as soon as I get this old AA130 running and settled out. I want to know how hot the 25 tons is in my back yard as well as know how much unburned carbon is in my ash. My understanding has always been that the key difference between bit and anth coals is the volatile content and the grindability. I don't think there is much difference in the ash... but I have no evidence to support that.

I read somehting last week that PPL was planning a Anthracite power plant somewhere above Harrisburg. Not sure of the details.

The original question of this thread was about the difference between oil and antracite. I read the report someon posted early in the thread where residential heating fuels were compared. The bad stuff coming out of the flue would be the PM10 and PM2.5 (PM meaning particulate matter). They feds zero in on the smaller particles because this is what gets into peoples lungs and causes problems. Also the SO2 is a problem but has different consequences to human health. These two combined give the flue gases the distinct color that folks talk about when burning coal.

NOx is an issue but typically only in large quantities and the problems are typically weather related. Anyone remember the story from around Pittsburgh from a few years back (30-40) when all the people died because of polution? That was caused by NOx in combination with a pressure/temperature gradiant that occurred in the town. Essentially, the air stopped moving around the town and all the bad stuff in the air collected and smothered a bunch of people. You can see this type of thing sometimes around a house that's burning coal/wood. The smoke just hangs low and doesn't move off like when there is a stiff breeze.
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Post Thu. Jan. 08, 2009 8:17 am

Just went looking for anthracite "CFA" (coal fly ash) analysis and didn't find much. Most of the literature talks about "ranks" of coal (anth, bit, sub-bit, lig), as distinct from fundamental differences in composition. Yet, other than the silica-type fines, we're not talking about big quantities (of arsenic, heavy metals, etc.), so small source differences could be significant on the toxicity side of the ledger.

On the pulmonary side, though, we've known for more than a generation not to breathe asbestos dust, so maybe the silica alone is a serious health hazard.

Nice to have somebody aboard who's actually been through the analytical process. Now that I know that little puff when I'm bagging isn't air freshener, I'll be both staying tuned here and paying more attention to the masks I buy.

Meanwhile, my wife's cat regularly laps the "ash-infused" rainwater off the deck right under our coal chimney, and I'm still wondering: has he developed a taste for coke/tomato juice or is it a bicarbonate of soda? :?

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OldAA130
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Post Thu. Jan. 08, 2009 8:30 am

we're not talking about big quantities (of arsenic, heavy metals, etc.), so small source differences could be significant on the toxicity side of the ledger.
That is a big distinction regarding the quantities. I do believe though that I have the same risk of breathing the ash in my shop as I do in a very large power generation boiler. I wouln't breath anymore at the power plant just because there is more... it's a matter of how much is suspended in the air and what protective measures I take. This shouldn't scare anyone reading this though. It's no different than crawling up into your attic. It's bad to breath those glass fibers that float around when you crawl through the fiberglass attic blanket. It's also bad to breath sawdust from hardwoods (for those wood workers out there). I've also worked in woodproducts and had it crammed down my throat (figuratively speaking) how bad oak dust is.

Most folks don't take extensive measures at home to protect themselves mostly becuase of awareness and the government has yet to mandate it. But wait... it will come... we are not too far from the gov making it illegal to smoke a cigarette in our own home so it's not hard to imagine the gov making rules to "keep us safe" at home much like OSHA does at work.

I do plan on having analysis performed on my coal and ash. I'm leaping way ahead because my boiler is cold right now waiting on parts to fix a problem.
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Hollyfeld
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Post Fri. Jan. 09, 2009 9:47 am

I have a section of my yard that had pacysandra growing in it. Over the past several years poison ivy took over so last year I sprayed it a few times with round-up and killed everything. This spring I was going to cover the area with mulch and plant some nice pine trees. Today on my way to work I thought about dumping my coal ash on this area and spreading it around. it's going to get covered up anyway with mulch and some trees. Perhaps it might be a good way to give that area a little elevation and fill in some of the uneven spots. I wonder if it would help prevent some weeds from growing through.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth." - Steve McQueen

U235a4
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Post Fri. Jan. 09, 2009 12:31 pm

I get rid of mine in a local stream that feeds my town ;) J/K. Really I put mine in the garden, holes in the yard, concrete, back allie, and to a person that looking for fill....... I guess just about anywhere.

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coalmeister
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Post Fri. Jan. 09, 2009 2:10 pm

There surely is a wide range of views on just how toxic coal ash is.
**Broken Link(s) Removed**WASHINGTON – Millions of tons of toxic coal ash is piling up in power plant ponds in 32 states, a practice the federal government has long recognized as a risk to human health and the environment but has left unregulated.


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