What you should know about Fly ash and the dangers of heavy metals

Australia has numerous coal power plants - 5 in NSW alone which produce many byproducts, one often overlooked is the disposal of coal fly ash. Around 10-11 millions tonnes of coal fly ash are produced by Australian coal combustion power plants each year and have already dumped well over 400 million tonnes in sites around the country.

Fly ash is a byproduct of the energy production process and needs to be disposed of properly to avoid the contamination of the environment with unsafe levels of heavy metals such as lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn), and iron(Fe) as well as fine particulate silica.

The leaching of heavy metals from fly ash into the water table or other areas can have far-reaching effects of the environment but what about on the smaller scale of your home demolition. If at some point in the past the land your house was built on had been used as a legal or illegal dumping ground and fly ash in discovered during the demolition process many safety measures have to be taken to avoid the dangers of those heavy metals present.

Heavy metals can result in numerous health problems but avoiding them comes down to preventing the breathing of the dust and contact with skin. These are the same precautions that are taken when dealing with asbestos “something Home Demolition deals with every day” ~ If you suspect fly ash is present on your property give us a call and we will happily help you with what needs to be done an how it needs to be handled.

 
 

Example of fly ash found under a building foundations

Vales-Point-coal-ash-dam via environmental justice Australia