Steel slag has been getting a lot of attention in recent years from state government and private industries alike. There are many uses for the versatile material including:
- Mixing it into cement
- Road building
- Drainage material
- Construction aggregate
In addition, industry scientists are working to find new uses for it every day. When project planners choose to use steel slag for various projects, they are choosing a product that has released fewer CO2 emissions during production than most aggregates, and that is — in most cases — more durable than the other natural materials that they could have chosen for the job. It’s easy to see why steel slag is appearing throughout many industries and project planners are using it for so many applications.
According to recent reports, the state of Ohio just approved the use of steel slag throughout its roadways. In a small announcement, Ohio House Republicans stated that reusing steel slag is okay for Ohio’s roadways.
Experts agree that some metal byproducts leach heavy metals into surrounding soil and water, but steel slag doesn’t pose the same environmental concerns as other materials. Though the Ohio Department of Transportation does, (and most organizations should), test all materials before they use them for any projects; most steel slag consists of safe materials, so it doesn’t leach anyway.
In addition, slag manufacturers throughout Illinois, Utah and Ohio have gone through a cleanup process; so the Midwest slag industry, overall, enjoys a better reputation.
However, the announcement has both the slag industry and environmental groups slightly concerned. People in the slag industry (like slag transportation carriers and slag manufacturers), don’t want lawmakers to start heavily regulating the industry. Currently, steel slag has an industrial product classification in many states. However, in Ohio, since it’s still classified as industrial waste, strict regulation could follow this announcement.