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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

Effect of Flue Gas Desulfurization Residue on Plant Establishment and Soil and Leachate Quality


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 30 No. 3, p. 1071-1080
    Received: Dec 8, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): punshon@srel.edu
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  1. Tracy Punshon *a,
  2. Domy C. Adrianoa and
  3. John T. Weberb
  1. a Savannah River Ecology Lab., Univ. of Georgia, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802
    b Dep. of Soil Science, Univ. of Adelaide, PMB 1, Glen Osmond, South Australia, 5064


Effects on soil quality and crop establishment after incorporation of flue gas desulfurization by-product (FGD) into soil as an amendment was assessed in a mesocosm study. Mesocosm units received applications equivalent to 0, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5, and 10% FGD residue [0, 25, 50, 75, and 100 tons acre−1]. Germination, biomass production, and elemental composition of corn (Zea mays L. var. Dekalb DK-683), soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr. var. Haskell Pupa 94], radish (Raphanus sativus L. var. Sparkler), and cotton (Gossypius hirsutus L. var. Deltapine 51) were determined. The quality of leachates and soil were also determined periodically. Flue gas desulfurization residue did not affect germination and all application rates stimulated aboveground biomass. Plants grown in FGD-amended soil contained significantly elevated tissue concentrations of As, B, Se, and Mo. The FGD residue elevated surface soil pH from 5.5 (Control) to 8.1 (at 10% FGD). Leachate pH was unaffected by FGD, but salinity rose sharply with increasing application rates of FGD. Leachates contained higher concentrations of B, with small increases in Se and As. Flue gas desulfurization residue application caused an increase in total B, As, Mo, Se, and extractable Ca in the soil, but decreased Mn and Zn. Using FGD residues could have beneficial effects on crop establishment without detrimental effects on soil or leachate quality, at an optimum rate of approximately 2.5%. This material could alleviate surface acidity, and B and Mo deficiencies in plants.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.30:1071–1080.