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EPA's Proposed Regulation of Coal Ash

Engage Volume 11, Issue 3, December 2010
By Steven Burns, Mary Samuels
December 23, 2010

On June 21, 2010, EPA published proposed regulations for the management of coal combustion byproducts (“CCBs”). CCBs (which EPA refers to as “coal combustion residuals” or “CCRs”)) are the materials that remain after coal is burned for electricity. CCBs include fly ash, fine particles that rise out of the top of the boiler; bottom ash, larger particles that drop to the bottom; and gypsum, the byproduct of flue gas desulfurization devices commonly known as “scrubbers.” CCBs are typically placed in a water solution to facilitate transport via pipelines, and at many plants, they are deposited in surface impoundments commonly referred to as “ash ponds” or “gypsum ponds.” At others, they are dried and “stacked” in landfills. Some CCBs can be essentially recycled as components in concrete, wallboard, and other products.