Greensand is composed primarily of the mineral glauconite -- a potassium, iron, aluminum silicate. In some Delaware greensands, the glauconite content exceeds 90%. The remaining 10% is mainly quartz. In the past, greensand was used in Delaware as an inexpensive fertilizer. The only active greensand mine in the U.S. today is in New Jersey. Once mined, greensand is dried and used as a soil conditioner. Greensand is also used in water softeners primarily to remove iron from the water. Recent research has shown that greensand has the potential for use as a filter of heavy metals from industrial waste water and landfill leachates.
The Delaware Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U. S. Bureau of Mines, has investigated glauconite-bearing greensand deposits in Delaware for several years. The purpose of this effort is to find possible practical uses for this potentially important mineral resource. This report briefly describes the preliminary results of one phase of the study: application of greensands to the purification of industrial waste waters.