Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

Sandstone is a sedimentary rock comprised of lithified sands. Most is primarily quartz sand or a mix of quartz and feldspar sands in conjunction with interstitial cementing materials including calcite, clay, iron oxides, and silica. The lithification process results in a hard, dense material that takes on the color of its components, most commonly tan to yellowish or tinted pink to dark red due to varying levels of iron oxide.

The commercial sandstone category encompasses many variations of texture and color. Common forms of sandstone include arkose which has a high feldspar content, graywacke which contains angular rock fragments, and conglomerate which contains rounded rock fragments. Other common stones included in this category are bluestone, a hard, dense feldspathic sandstone, brownstone, a reddish-brown stone taking its color from its high iron content, and flagstone, a sandstone or sandy slate that is easily split into large, thin slabs.

Sandstone accounts for 15% of the stone produced in the United States, putting it in third place behind limestone and granite. It is quarried in 16 states with Arizona, New York, Ohio, Colorado, and Arkansas leading the industry. Sandstone’s primary uses include dressed stone for flagging, ashlars, and partially squared pieces as well as rough blocks for building and construction (Dolley 2007). Two general phases of sandstone production exist: quarrying and processing. Each of these phases is described below.

Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

LCI Data Collection

Information for this study was acquired through the distribution of a technical data collection tool. This survey was developed by the Center for Clean Products after touring approximately 15 stone quarries and processing facilities located throughout the United States, and through extensive consultation with industry experts and quarry operators. Choosing a diverse array of facilities was key to this process as a broad understanding of stone industry operations was needed to fashion questions that apply to all members.

Quality of LCI Data Set

The dataset presented in this report represents over 62,000 tons of quarried sandstone and nearly 32,000 tons of sandstone products generated in North America; this includes both masonry and landscape products as well as dimensional products. Data also reflects a diversity of operations with respect to size and location. Respondents indicated net annual quarry production ranging from approximately 2,000 tons to 35,000 tons, while processors reported a span of 500-29,000 net tons/year. Quarry data was submitted from companies located in 25% of the 16 states where U.S. sandstone quarries were active in 2006 (Dolley 2007). Reporting processing facilities are located in 4 states.

Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

Sandstone Quarry Operations

The LCI for quarry operations includes the inputs and outputs for each of the processes.Specifically, processes and operations represented in the inventory presented in this report include:

• Removal of overburden using heavy equipment

• Transfer of overburden to on-site storage

• Quarry operations required to remove stone from deposit including drilling, prying, and use of slight explosive charges.

• On-site transport of stone using heavy equipment.

• Transport of scrap stone to on-site storage

• Onsite generation of energy and compressed air

• Capture and treatment of wastewater

• Upstream production of energy and fuels

Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

Sandstone Processing Operations

The LCI for sandstone processing operations includes the inputs and outputs for each of the processes. Specifically, processes and operations represented in this portion of the inventory include:

• Primary shaping of stone into less-refined pieces, such as flagstone or veneer

• Application of a surface finish or texture

• Secondary shaping of stone into specific products

• Packaging of finished sandstone products for shipment

• On-site transport of stone using heavy equipment, such as forklifts

• Transport of scrap stone to on-site storage or reclamation

• Onsite generation of energy and compressed air

• Capture and treatment of wastewater and other waste materials such as dust

• Upstream production of energy and fuels

Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

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Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

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