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Safe. Useful. Sustainable.

Beneficially Using
Phosphogypsum

 

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Turning Byproducts into Useful Products

Phosphogypsum (PG) is stored in gypstacks where it sits ready for productive use.

Preserving Phosphogypsum (PG) for Future Use

Innovative PG Use Benefits The Environment & Economy

Smaller less visible stack in communities

Beneficial uses will meet stringent safety standards

Reuse and recycling is key to long-term sustainability

Reduced footprint needed for future gypstacks

Other Countries Are Already Benefiting From Safe PG Use

From forestry to road building, soil treatment to agriculture, Phosphogypsum is used in nearly two dozen countries, with 55 beneficial uses already discovered.

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Good For The Environment, Economy, & Infrastructure

The EPA has studied phosphogypsum extensively and approved it for productive use. PG use will help the environment, help the economy, and help build American infrastructure.

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Q & A

Your questions about gypstacks & PG use - answered.

1What is phosphate?
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient that is derived from phosphate minerals typically found in rock or ore. Phosphate promotes healthy plant growth and has no synthetic substitute. Typically, it enters the food cycle through the soil where it nourishes crops that feed humans and animals. Florida’s abundant phosphate reserves formed millions of years ago when the area was covered by an ocean.
2How is phosphorus made and manufactured?
Once an operations site is permitted and environmental preservation plans have been submitted, machines called draglines are used to extract the “matrix” which can be found approximately 40 feet below the surface. The “matrix” that contains phosphate rock is turned into a liquid mix by adding water that is pumped to a nearby beneficiation plant. Here, the pebbled phosphate is separated from other materials and later transported by rail, truck or ship to be made into usable phosphorus. Other elements are then added to the phosphate rock to transform it into a water-soluble form that plants and animals can use. During the process, a byproduct called phosphogypsum, or “PG” is created and is currently stored in gypstacks. Florida produced phosphate is shipped to farmers and used to grow the food that the world needs.
3What is PG?
PG is simply calcium sulfate, a product created during the phosphate manufacturing process. For every ton of phosphorus produced, approximately five tons of PG is made. PG is a durable product and its stacked while wet and later hardens to hold its shape. In the US, until very recently, PG use was limited to certain agricultural applications and scientific research. Other countries, however, looked at PGas a beneficial material that could be used in forestry, building materials, cement and more.
4Why is PG stored in stacks in the US?

Over 30 years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required PG storage in stacks based on very conservative radioactivity risk exposure – science now tells a different story. PG contains NORM, naturally occurring radioactive materials. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), PG is considered a NORM residue – meaning it is a material that remains from a process and contains NORM. During manufacturing, once the phosphate is removed, these materials are more concentrated, but maintain the same low-level of radiation. PG can be further classified as Technologically Enhanced NORM, or TeNORM, because it has been technologically enhanced during the manufacturing process.

IAEA confirms that commercial use of PG has been restricted in the US because of concerns about its NORM content, even though such concerns appear to be without scientific foundation. Outside of the US, countries are already beneficially using their PG and at least 55 different uses have been researched worldwide.

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About The Florida Phosphate Council

The Florida Phosphate Council comprises leaders of the state’s phosphate industry that have come together to educate policy makers and our neighbors about beneficial reuse opportunities for all of the products made during the phosphate manufacturing process.

Learn more about the Florida Phosphate council here.

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