EPA's Jackson Says Coal Waste Can Be Safely Recycled

Date: January 14, 2010

Source: News Room

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson challenged criticism that the agency's proposed coal ash waste proposal would damage the building-materials industry, saying last week that the waste produced by coal-fired power plants can be safely recycled into products such as cement. "There seems to be genuine agreement that the use of coal ash in concrete and concrete-like products does not cause a threat to human health and the environment. The threats associated with coal-ash waste are from leaching," she said, "which is not a problem from a concrete perspective."

The EPA has been under pressure from Congress and activists to regulate coal ash after a spill in Dec. 2008 at a TVA plant in Kingston, TN spilled a billion gallons of ash and water over as much as 300 acres. In response, the EPA has suggested that it might regulate coal ash as non-hazardous if properly disposed or recycled and hazardous if handled otherwise, a so-called "hybrid approach." However, companies such as LaFarge SA, the world's biggest cement maker, are appealing to the Obama White House to warn that even the threat of treating coal ash as hazardous would create a stigma against reusing the waste for other purposes. Currently, more than 40% of coal ash is being recycled into products such as cement and drywall. The EPA is trying to find a middle ground between business and environmentalists. Regulating it as hazardous would give the agency federal control over its destiny and create unified standards but would significantly raise costs to power plants.

To learn more, visit: www.wasteinfo.com/cgi-bin/search/search.pl?start=0&perPage=37&search=coal+ash.

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