The EPA this week has announced its long-awaited proposed rule for regulating fly ash. The electrical utility plant byproduct used in concrete production has become a vital element in the concrete industry's argument that is a sustainable building material.

The agency has developed two possible options. Under the first proposal, EPA would list these residuals as special wastes subject to regulation under subtitle C of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). When destined for disposal in landfills or surface impoundments. Under the second proposal, EPA would regulate coal ash under subtitle D of RCRA, the section for non-hazardous wastes.

"The time has come for common-sense national protections to ensure the safe disposal of coal ash," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "We're proposing strong steps to address the serious risk of groundwater contamination and threats to drinking water and we're also putting in place stronger safeguards against structural failures of coal ash impoundments. The health and the environment of all communities must be protected."

For more information:
Includes a summary of the complete rule, a pdf of the entire 562-page document, and links to frequently asked questions, according to the EPA.
The Fly Ash Threat, published in the January 2010 issue of TCP, is the industry's most comprehensive story on the subject.
Rick Yelton has been blogging about the issue for several months. Read his latest entry and readers' comments, and give your own input.
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III, who also is chairman of the Southern States Energy Board, writes, "I implore the EPA to evaluate the facts about coal ash recycling before making a decision."
The American Coal Ash Association recently passed a resolution calling for national disposal regulations.