The newsletter of AMERICAN TRAILS -- SPRING 1997

return to TrailTracks Spring '97 index

back to Trail Tracks directory

Coal by-product may have trail surfacing potential

By Nancy Michaels, from Trails Advocate, the magazine of the Iowa Trails Council

Ecostone, a product created by IES Utilities, is produced from fly ash that results from coal combustion at Prairie Creek Station. The very fine talcum-like fly ash is mixed with water and allowed to harden and form a cement-like material. The hardened material is then broken up for use in construction of road base, feedlot pads, construction fills, and possibly on future bicycle trails.

"We have little experience with Ecostone being used as a base for walking and bicycle trails," said Patrick Wright, coal and ash marketing specialist at IES Utilities, "but I do believe Ecostone can serve in this application."

Ecostone seems to perform well in feedlots as a substitute for large concrete pads. Cattleman Don Newton of Blairstown, Iowa, has been bragging about the material. "It's hard, durable, and never gouges, even when we've put the blade down and dragged it backwards across the surface."

Ecostone has also been used to construct access roads and a composting pad at the Cedar Rapids landfill and on some alleyways in Cedar Rapids. Selling for $1 a ton at the plant, Ecostone may well be considered as a surface for trails not only for its cost effectiveness and other attributes but also for its environmental benefits.

For more information on using fly ash products, call Patrick Wright at IES Utilities, 319/398-7249.