By Steve Hall • February 25, 2009
Renew, reuse, recycle are three words familiar to most Americans, but they can be applied in surprising ways.
For instance, for the past several decades, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has used coal ash generated by a number of power-producing facilities as an ingredient in some road construction materials. It’s a process that allows TDOT to recycle materials from the plants that might otherwise be unusable.
The recent event at TVA’s Kingston Steam Plant renewed focus on what happens to coal ash. As clean-up in Kingston continues, Gov. Phil Bredesen has asked TDOT to evaluate material from the spill to determine how it might be reused in road and bridge projects.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Highway Administration approve the use of fly ash in certain road construction applications, such as a supplement to cement in concrete, an aggregate component in both concrete and asphalt paving, fill material in embankments and roadbeds, as a stabilizing agent for soils and aggregate bases and in flowable fills. Fly ash is less commonly used as an anti-stripping agent in hot-mix asphalt and as a de-icing agent.
Here is some good news about coal ash. Tennessee Department of Transportation uses it for road construction materials.
Tags: Environment | Tennessee | Recycling | Coal Ash
For the past year, TDOT has been cutting down trees along the sides of Interstate I-40 from Nashville heading west. Finally, Chris Armour, president of Trees Nashville explained to me why this was happening. Chris said that the trees were causing shadows on the road, which TDOT thought was a traffic hazard.
As I drove to a doctor’s appointment in downtown Nashville on Tuesday morning, I noticed the shadows produced on the interstate roads. Many were caused by utility poles or interstate overpasses. There are rocky cliffs along the road which held trees that were chopped down. These cliffs still cause shadows.
The trees were ground into mulch which was blown onto the sides of the cliffs. This mulch will just wash down in our heavy rains.
My biggest hazard (besides our notoriously dangerous drivers) on Interstate I-40 is the sun, which is often in my eyes going westward in the afternoons. Traffic slows down at the White Bridge Road overpass because of the sun almost every day. The sun always seems to be where my car’s visors do not go. What’s TDOT going to do with the sun?
Plus without the trees, the area is just going to be hotter in the summers. Please bring back the trees. The only benefit I see from cutting down the trees is that plastic bags will not get caught in the limbs any more. Of course, eliminating plastic bags would help that.
Another speaker at our retreat yesterday was Shawn Bible, the Beautification Coordinator for TDOT, which spends $6 million of taxpayers’ money picking up litter off highways. And the streets are still a mess!
There is going to be a revival of the Adopt-A-Highway program. This is a program where a civic group adopts a couple of miles of highway to clean up three or four times a year.
Shawn spoke about how billboards are a multi-million dollar business and won’t go away. Tennesseans can also apply for grants to beautify highways in the Tennessee Roadscape Program.
Edith W. Heller, our state leader for Keep Tennessee Beautiful, spoke about how KTnB.org is the gold standard among states in the Keep America Beautiful program. Every county in Tennessee participated in the Great American Cleanup last year. No other state had every county participate. Over 25% of the citizens of Tennessee were part of a Great American Cleanup group, too.
From her talk, I learned that a group is working to reduce the amount of cigarette litter (butts) in downtown Nashville. The primary litterers are between 18-34 years old. This is a horrible statistic.
Overall, I’m very encouraged that much is being done with school programs to discourage children from becoming litterers.
Although this blog carps about the amount of litter I find, there are lots of groups who care and who are working to solve the problem. Unfortunately, I hate that my tax dollars are going to clean up someone else’s trash.
PlanetTrash was driving to work a few days ago and witnessed a smoker throwing a butt out the car window. Luckily I got the tag number and turned in the offender to TDOT. This is littering.
Cigarette butts take 7-10 years to disintegrate. I don’t want those chemicals in my water supply.