. "Use of Materials Balances to Estimate Aggregate Waste Generation in the United States." Measures of Environmental Performance and Ecosystem Condition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1999.
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sions, primarily particulates and CO, is about 1 MMT (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1991).
We have no estimate of water use by the stone, clay, and glass sector. However, EPA estimated total wet wastes from the sector to be 560 MMT (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1986). This seems quite high, given that most processes in the sector are dry.
Combustion of fossil fuels produces a variety of wastes. This is particularly true for coal. On the average, U.S. coal has a sulfur content of 1.9 percent; coal burned by electric utilities averages 2.3 percent sulfur, whereas coking coal is 1 percent sulfur. The latter is mostly recovered as ammonium sulfate. Coal burned in the United States emits about 16 MMT of sulfur (32.1 MMT SO2). Most of this sulfur dioxide is released to the atmosphere.
In 1988, 1.24 MMT of lime (CaO) and 1.035 MMT of limestone (CaCO3) were sold for use in removing sulfur from furnace stack gases. The limestone was equivalent to 0.495 MMT of lime. Because CaO has a molecular weight of 56 and SO2 has a molecular weight of 64, the total amount of limestone and lime used in scrubbers accounted for only 1.96 MMT of sulfur dioxide, or about 6 percent of the total emitted. None of the sulfur from coal burning was recovered for further use. (It is disposed of in landfills as a mixture of wet calcium sulfite CaSO3 and calcium sulfate CaSO4.) EPA estimated that flue gas desulfurization by utilities produced 14.4 MMT of solid wastes in 1984 (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1988, 1991). The mineral content of these wastes, even in 1988, was evidently no more than 3.7 MMT. The remainder was presumably water of hydration. (The mineral gypsum has the formula CaSO4 · 2H2O.)
If all the sulfur in U.S. coal were to be captured by wet scrubbers using lime, total U.S. lime production would triple to 26 MMT, which would require an additional 55 MMT of limestone to be quarried. All of it would, of course, be converted almost directly into a waste stream.
Coal contains a small but significant percentage of fuel-bound nitrogen (about 1 unit per 68 units of carbon). Most of this is emitted as nitric oxide (NO) but some may be emitted as nitrous oxide (N2O), one of the greenhouse gases. However, experts disagree about the amount of nitrous oxide produced by this process. More important, coal combustion in high-temperature boilers, used to generate electric power, produces a significant quantity of NOx emissions, about 10 MMT/yr (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1986). Virtually all anthropogenic NOx (about 20 MMT/yr in 1980 and probably a similar amount in 1988) is attributable to the burning of fossil fuel.
Coal also contains significant quantities of mineral ash, equivalent to mineral shale. The average ash content of U.S. coal, as burned, is approximately 10 percent (Torrey, 1978). Actually, utilities alone seem to have collected and dis-