Phosphogypsum Study Directed by Legislature to Study Beneficial PG Use
In Florida, there are currently 1 billion tons of phosphogypsum (PG) stored in gypstacks as a result of phosphate production, with 30 million tons being produced annually. Historically, PG has been under tight regulations, requiring it to be housed in gypstacks with no opportunity for reuse.
In the United States, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that phosphogypsum (PG), a normal byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer manufacturing process — be stored in gypstack. Subject to tight regulations, PG may only be used for limited scientific research and agricultural uses.
That may soon be changing. Bills are under consideration in the Florida House and Senate, which aim to explore the possibility of recycling PG.
Both SB 1258 and HB 1191 cleared their second committees with bipartisan support. The two bills direct the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to conduct feasibility tests on using PG in infrastructure projects as road base. The results of these tests will prepare Florida to recycle phosphogypsum in line with future EPA approval.
“Upon FDOT’s determination of suitability, PG from phosphate production may be used as a construction aggregate material in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval for use,” the House of Representatives Staff Analysis says.
It’s Time To Stop Staking PG — and Start Using It
Rep. Alex Andrade, a co-sponsor of the House bill, believes that PG research at EPA is occurring because other countries “have already incorporated PG in their road use systems.” He isn’t wrong either, over 20 countries including Canada and Norway have been reusing PG to support infrastructure and agriculture projects.
If other countries can productively use PG, so can the United States. When we use PG, we strengthen our economy while protecting the environment — a “win-win” for Florida. It’s time to put PG to beneficial use.