Not long I hope, because the toxic chemicals that can be released are both hazardous to the environment and human health. According to Gottlieb, Gilbert & Evans (2010), coal ash contains the chemical cadmium, which is a metal that is used often in the manufacturing industry. Cadmium is a potential hazard from coal ash dust that may be released in to the environment when dry ash is stored, loaded, transported, or kept in uncovered landfills. Chronic exposure to cadmium can lead to kidney disease and lung disease such as emphysema when inhaled over long periods of time.
It is stored and then stored somewhere else. One power company that stopped using coal, used 4 containment ponds which have been around since 1950. “According to information contained in an EPA freedom of information request from May of 2009, the first two pools, installed during an expansion of the original plant in 1950, are approximately 12 feet deep and have a volume of 12,000 cubic yards. The third and fourth pools, installed in 1975, have a depth of approximately 9 feet with a volume of 10,800 cubic yards”. Now they will move it and store it at another one of their facilities.
There may be ways to “recycle” coal ash as an additive to concrete but thta is in development statges.
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