What is the EPA doing to try to get rid of coal ash?



  1. 0 Votes

    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


    Key Differences Between Subtitle C and Subtitle D Options      
    Effective Date  Timing will vary from state to state, as each state must adopt the rule individually-can take 1 – 2 years or more  Six months after final rule is promulgated for most provision: certain provisions have a longer effective date
    Enforcement  State and Federal enforcement  Enforcement through citizen suits; States can act as citizens.
    Corrective Action  Monitored by authorized States and EPA  Self-implementing
    Financial Assurance  Yes  Considering subsequent rule using CERCLA 108 (b) Authority
    Permit Issuance  Federal requirement for   permit issuance by States  No
    Requirements for Storage, Including Containers, Tanks, and Containment Buildings  Yes  No
    Surface Impoundments Built Before Rule is Finalized  Remove solids and meet land disposal restrictions; retrofit with a liner within five years of effective date. Would effectively phase out use of existing surface impoundments  Must remove solids and retrofit with a composite liner or cease receiving CCRs within 5 years of effective date and close the unit
    Surface Impoundments Built After Rule is Finalized  Must meet Land Disposal Restrictions and liner requirements. Would effectively phase out use of new surface impoundments.  Must install composite liners. No Land Disposal Restrictions
    Landfills Built Before Rule is Finalized  No liner requirements, but require groundwater monitoring  No liner requirements, but require  groundwater monitoring
    Landfills Built After Rule is Finalized  Liner requirements and groundwater monitoring  Liner requirements and groundwater monitoring
    Requirements for Closure and Post-Closure Care  Yes; monitored by States and EPA  Yes; self-implementing
  2. 0 Votes

    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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