Saturday, December 20, 2014

EPA Releases Long-Anticipated Rules for Disposal of Coal Ash

A vortex of coal ash swirls in the gray waters of the Dan River at Danville, Va. downstream from the Duke Energy Steam Station in Eden, N.C. The EPA issued new rules for the disposal of coal ash on Friday. (Credit: John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images) | Charlotte Observer via Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
The Environmental Protection Agency released new rules Friday for the disposal of coal ash, the first national guidelines for dealing with the waste generated by burning coal.

The rules don't regulate coal ash disposal as tightly as environmental and community groups had wanted.  They put coal ash into the same disposal category as household trash and non-hazardous industrial solid waste, and leave the enforcement largely up to states and local governments.

The rules call for the closure of active surface impoundments and landfills that "fail to meet engineering and structural standards," according to the EPA.  They will also require regular inspections of the structural integrity of surface impoundments at active sites, the agency said, as well as monitoring and cleanup of unlined surface impoundments that are found to be leaching into groundwater.

The rules also require that new surface impoundments not be built in "sensitive areas such as wetlands and earthquake zones," and will require that they be lined.

Read more at EPA Releases Long-Anticipated Rules for Disposal of Coal Ash

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