National Gypsum Plant Congratulated on Pollution-Prevention Efforts

Feb. 5, 2002
The National Gypsum plant in Shippingport, Pa., not only recycles 99 percent of its own waste, it recyles waste from a local power plant to make wallboard.

The National Gypsum plant in Shippingport, Pa., not only recycles 99 percent of its own waste, it recyles waste from a local power plant to make wallboard, earning it kudos from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary David E. Hess. Hess offered congratulations to National Gypsum plant officials on their pollution prevention efforts during a recent tour of the wallboard manufacturing facility.

"Ninety-nine percent of the content of the wallboard manufactured here comes from recycled material," Hess announced. "More than 440,000 tons a year of scrubber sludge from the Bruce Mansfield power plant doesn't go to a landfill because it is used here to make a product used by builders and homeowners everywhere.

Due to its recycling efforts, the company reduced wallboard waste by 8,960 square feet per day in 2001.

"This kind of story is repeated over and over again in Pennsylvania as companies and municipalities look for creative ways to reduce or eliminate waste, prevent pollution and lower their energy use," added Hess.

He noted that the 215 winners of the Governor's Environmental Excellence Award permanently reduced wastewater by 5.2 billion gallons, solid waste by 122 million tons and air emissions by 112 million tons. They saved more than 78 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, and reduced their own costs by $648 million.

The Bruce Mansfield facility burns more than 6 millions tons of coal annually and produces 56 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per day. The facility uses scrubber-style air pollution systems on its three stacks and produces up to 4 million gallons of scrubber sludge per day. The National Gypsum plant uses more than 1,200 tons a day of sludge from Bruce Mansfield.

The National Gypsum plant can produce 725 million square feet of wallboard per year. The plant ships an average of 3 million square feet of wallboard daily. Production began in November 1999, and the plant employs 105 employees.

The flue gas desulferization (FGD) sludge is conveyed to National Gypsum from the Bruce Mansfield facility on a one-and-a-half-mile-long conveyor belt. At the facility, it is dewatered and ground into a powder. The resulting material, called stucco, is blended with water and other ingredients to make a paste. The slurry is spread on a moving stream of cream-colored paper and then covered, sandwiched with another paper, or gray back, to be formed into wallboard at the facility's forming station.

The long, continuous sheet of wallboard then travels on moving belts and roller conveyors to the knife, where it is cut into specified lengths. The long "board line" is needed to allow the gypsum slurry time (about four minutes) to harden before it is cut. The cut wallboard panels are turned cream side up and sent into the kiln to dry.

edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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