May 2010

EPA Releases More Electric Utility Plans to Improve Safety of Coal Ash Impoundments

(EPA 5-19-2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing action plans developed by 16 electric utility facilities with coal ash impoundments, describing the measures the facilities are taking to make their impoundments safer. The action plans are a response to EPA’s final assessment reports on the structural integrity of these impoundments that the agency made public this February.

TVA Decides to Store Ash at Kingston Spill Site

(Associated Press 5-19-2010) The Tennessee Valley Authority will permanently store onsite more than 2 million cubic yards of coal ash from a massive spill as part of the utility's second phase of clean up. At $270 million, the onsite storage will consist of 25-foot-tall heap with no liner system beside the Emory River west of Knoxville. It was the cheapest of several options TVA considered, and Steve McCracken, the utility's cleanup project manager, said it should keep overall costs within the projected $1.2 billion total.
 

EPA Stiffens Coal Ash Rules, But Proposal Allows Recycling

(Greensource 5-10-2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on May 4 unveiled a draft rule to regulate coal ash, for the first time, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The proposal would require coal-fired powerplants to retrofit existing impoundments, which typically store ash in liquid form, with composite liners. It also would provide strong incentives to eventually close surface impoundments and shift to dry storage in landfills, EPA says. The new scrutiny follows a 2008 collapse of a Tennessee impoundment that spread ash over a 300-sq-mile area of land and water.

EPA Backed off "Hazardous" Label for Coal Ash After White House Review

(New York Times 5-7-2010) U.S. EPA's proposed regulation of coal ash as a hazardous waste was changed at the White House to give equal standing to an alternative favored by the coal industry and coal-burning electric utilities.The Obama administration is now considering two competing rules for regulating the ash that contains toxins that include arsenic, lead and mercury. The first would set binding federal disposal requirements for the ash, and the second would label the ash nonhazardous and leave enforcement to the states (E&ENews PM, May 4).
 

EPA PROPOSES SWEEPING RULE FOR NONCONSTRUCTION-GRADE COAL ASH

(Concrete Products 5-5-2010) EPA officials are set to open a 90-day public comment period for proposed rules that address disposal and management of coal-fired power plants’ ash and residue, while exempting higher-grade, lower-carbon fly ash suited to concrete mix designs, cement mill feed, and wallboard production.