They are looking to draw down the use of slurry impoundments and move the refuse to safer landfills. The EPA is proposing two separate plants to enforce restrictions on the handling of Coal Combustive Residuals (CCRs; aka coal ash). Regulations under subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act are not allowing any new surface impoundments and working on phasing them out, while D does not have a restriction on this. Both require landfill liners and groundwater monitoring to avoid endangering the public or environment. You can view a comparison of the two plans below —
From the EPA: List of differences between subtitles C and D under RCRA
Once coal ash has been created, nothing can be done to get rid of it, and so the best policy for minimizing coal ash is replacing coal power with cleaner forms of energy such as wind, solar and other renewables, and even nuclear power. However, there are ways of better managing coal ash once it has been created, including recycling it into consumer and industrial products. In addition to overseeing the disposal of coal ash in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act, EPA partners with industry stakeholders to find beneficial reuses for the large volume of ash created by the power industry.
EPA’s Office of Solid Waste oversees the disposal of coal ash and approves of the use of coal ash for a variety of applications, except where it is demonstrated to pose a health hazard, and it is regulated as a nonhazardous waste. A health and safety review of certain disposal practices is currently underway (see citation #2).
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