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Aptil 29, 2009

SUMMARY OF SUBJECT MATTER

TO: Members of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environmenr

FROM: Subcommittee on \X'atCl' Resources and Environment Staff

SUBJECT: Hearing on "Coal Combustion Waste Storage and Water Quality"

PURPOSE OF HEARING

On Thursday, April 30, 2009, at 10:00 a.rn., in Room 2167 Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Wa ter Resources and Environment \V ill receive tes timon)' from

representatives from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Maryland Department of Environmental Quality, academia, and other interested patties. The purpose of this hearing is to gather more information on the relationship between the storage and disposal ofcoal combustion waste (CC\X/) and water quality,

BACKGROUND

This memorandum provides information on coal combustion storage, waste, disposal and reuse practices, regulations concerning storage, disposal and reuse, and the water qualit), implications of storage and disposal.

Coal Combustion Waste

In 2007, 131 million tons 0 f as h " or CCW> was produce d by the 460 coal-fired power plants located across the United States. CCWI consists of a variety of residues that remain after coal has been burned. These materials include coarse particles that settle to the bottom of the power plant's

I COlli ash is referred 10 bJ' n number of names, including cO:11 combustion byproducts, waste, product, or residue. Regulatory agencies gcncrnllr refer 10 the material as CC

(/. (11: will use this nomenclature in rlus memorandum.

combustion chamber, as well as fine panicles that arc removed from the flue gas. The various types of CCW include:

• F!)' ash: fly ash is captured in the power plant's stack, or chimney, by particulate removal process es, 5 uch as electros ta tic precipira tion or fabric fil tcrs, to avoid release in to the air. It has a fine consistency like talcum powder.

• BottO/II asb: Bottom ash consists of coarse, gritty particles that are too large to be carried in flue gases. This material either gathers on the furnace walls or falls through open grates on the floor of the furnace into an ash hopper. Bottom ash has a size and consistency similar to fine sand Or gravel.

• Boiler llag: Boiler slag is produced when molten coal slag comes into contact with water used in power plant furnaces. The molten slag fractures, crystallizes, and then f0011S pellets. Boiler slag is uniform in size, hard, and durable.

• Fllfe gtiJ dCJ//ljifl7ifllioll (FGD) lJIatcnn/: PGD 15 a chemical process implemented in order to meet Clean Air Act emissions requirements, The process chemically combines the sulfur gases released during combustion by reacting them with a binding agent, or sorbent, such as limestone, lime, or ammonia. Depending all the .rGD process used at a particular plant, the PGD material produced can be either a wet sludge or dry powder.

Of the 131 million tons of coal ash produced in 2007, d1C American Coal Ash Association estimates that 71 million tons is fly ash, 20 million tons is bottom ash and boiler slag. and 40 million tons is FGD rna terial.

The physical and chemical characteristics of CCW are a function of the chemical characteristics of the source coal, coal-cleaning processes and technologies, the chemical characteristics of any co-fired materials, and the processes or technology used to burn the coal and filter the ash at a given plant. CCW represents the noncombustible constituents of coal. Therefore, the chemical constituency of the coal componcm of CCW is strongly influenced by the source coal used. CCW can also include the chemical characteristics of non-C0:11 substances that may be coIired along with the coal, such as wood, biomass, plastics, petroleum coke, tire-derived fuel, ref1.1SCderived fuel. or manufactured gas plant waste. Finally> CCW characteristics are affected by the combustion, air emission control, and ·esidue-hand.ling, or CCW-handling (collection systems that will result in either wet or dry CC\XI), technologies used at II particular plant.

The principle constituents found in. CCW include silica, alumina, iron oxide> potassium, calcium, and magnesium, The distribution of these components is a function of the regional source of the coal. Different regions produce different types of coal: for example, bituminous, subbituminous, or lignite.

Coal also naturally contains a.L:&eruc, ba .: 1111, bery } boicn QJdmjul11, chr niul11,

thallium, selenium, molj.bdcTltal11, and mercury in small conceutrnrions, am011 other elements.

l.hen coal 1'5 laurned, the metals become concentrated at levels higher than tha ound in U1f! natural, nbufhe, cml. Most of these metals are captured in the ash and FGD materials. WIllie levels of these metals will vat,)" based on the particular source of the CCW, all ~.W will likely include these

2

'111atcrialsl CCWs wlT also likely include toxic organic materials, such as eli xins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) compounds.

As the nation's energy needs increase and ail: pollution regulations becomemore stringent, the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory anticipates that the volumes of ecw produced will increase, DOE anticipates an additional 30 million tons of CCW will be produced annually within at least ten years.

Regulationof Coal Storage and Disposal

CW is currently sllbjeC'..t 0 reguLati&D\s a i~on-haz'trdol1s lid,\vastc) substance under the

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and is exempt from federal hazardous waste management regulations under that statute. As a result, it is regulated primaril)' by the states. These state statutory and regulatcry requirements vat)' considerably. In practical terms, the primary federal role in the management of ecw stomge and disposal is through Clean Water Act pennitting requirements (for those CCW storage and disposal fllciEtjcs subject to them).

Federal Regulation: The federal government bas weighed the regulation of CW since at least 1980. During the 1980 RCM reauthorization, Representative Bevill introduced an amendment, which was adopted, that required EPA to defer the imposition of hazardous waste regulatory requirements for CCW until data regarding the materials' potential hazard 0 human health or the environment could be analyzed. This is referred to as the Bevill A mcndrnent, According to the Congressional Research Service celtS), since 1980, EPJ\ has conducted various studies, submitted reports to Congress, and made regulatol)' determinations in response to the directives in the Bevill Amendment. Other federal agencies, such as the Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining (OSr,,!), have also engaged in actions concerning the storage or disposal of CCW.

In 1999, partly as a result of variations in state requirements, EPA eternllned that national 'egulations under ReRA regarding CCW disposal were needed. On tvIay 22, 2000, EPA issued a regulatory determination' that concluded that CCW waste from powel: producing facilities did not warrant regulation as a hazardous waste under Subtitle C of RCRA.3 However, l.'!:P/~C1cl[j-miilecl

rI n nauonal regulations as non-hazardous waste (solid waste) under Subtitle D of RCRA were warranted for CCW when disposed or stored in landfills or ~lAirf.'lcc impoundment. In order to consistently J:eguhre cew, EPA stated its intent to promu gate regulations under Subtitle D. To date, regulations pursuant to this regulatory determination have not been proposed or issued.

In its May 22, 2000 regulatory determination, EPA also concluded that no additional regulations were warrauted for ecw to be reused or used beneficially, The agency stated that it did

2 65 FR 32214 .

.1 RCM was enacted in 1976. It is intended [0 protect human health and the environment (rom the potential hazards or waste disposal and to ensure that wastes are mnll:lged in an environmerually sound manner, RCJL-

s Subtitle C creates n hazardous waste rnenagemcnt program that directs EPJ-\ to develop criteria for identifying the characrcrisrics of hazardous waste nnd to develop waste management criteria applicable to that hazardous waste, RCRA's Subtitle D establishes state and local govcrnments as the primary planning. regulati.n.g, and implementing entities for the management of solid waste. Solid waste under Subrirle D commonly includes household garbage and non-hazardous solid waste. In 1984, the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to RCRA directed EP,-\ to establish national criteria for municipal solid waste landfills under Subtitle D.

3

not wish to place flny unnecessary barriers on the beneficial use of CC\Xl so that the material could be used in applications that conserve natural resources and [educe disposal. costs.

In March, 2007, OSM issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding rhc disposal of CCW in active and abandoned mines. However, draft rules have 110t ret been proposed. In addition, following the December 2008 CCW release at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant (Harriman, Tennessee), the EPA announced on March 9, 2009 that the ::tgency would propose regulations to address CCW disposal in landfills and surface impoundments by the end of 2009.

S:Ol~1e cr:w storage 6f'disposalllnits - especially surface ll:nEOllndments, \vhicb LIandle~t ~W - may be su8ject to federal water pollution control regulations. '1 st6f:age or disposal unit that ) bas an outfall that discharges to surface water is required to meet the effluent guitleliHes pllIsW'ln t to 1 the CLean ###BOT_TEXT###quot;{IateL Act, and specified in a facility's National Pollutant DiSCharge Hllmination Systcrn (NPDES) permit.

State Regulation: Other than federal water pollution regulations, and in the absence of federal solid waste regulations under RCRA, the de facto controlling regulatory regime for CC\XI storage and disposal is subject to the requirements of the state in which a particular facility is located. State regulations for CCW storage and disposal vury 6:0111 state to state. They can also vary from storage unit to storage unit. Forexample, a given state may regulate landfills and surface impoundments using different regulatory requirements. Additionally, for: example, older units may be treated differently than newer units, based on'g:mndfadlering' provisions.

CCW Management Approaches

Currently, CC,,\-x' is stored in approximately 1,300 locations across the United States. Of these, 620 arc actively being used. 111is subset includes landfills, storage ponds, and surface impoundments. The remaining approximately 700 locations are old, unused, or dosed sites.

After the coal is burned in a power plant furnace, the residue is removed from the plant.

Depending on a given plant's technology and processcs, the CCW residue is removed in either a my Of wet foern, To aid the transportation from the furnace to storage or disposal facilities, some facilities usc technology that mixes the ash with water. This slurry is then pumped to storage facilities known as surface impoundments. Over time the solids will settle out in these facilities, leaving water at the surface, This water is ultimately removed from. the impoundment. Surface impoundments, used for the storage of wet CCW, may be a natural or a man-made depression or diked area formed of earthen materials, Asb llHu IS fOlillOyad tuJl'l &ciJici~ in a tlrJ £"'01111 is ~m1:ed or disposed of~ in landfills, iCCW is also disposed of, in either wet or dry forms, or as an amafgama.iion ,1th other materials, in either surface or underground mines. The Utilities Solid Waste Activities Group estimates that 45 percent of opera ting storage and disposal sites are surface im poundmen ts,

States use a variety of regulatory approaches for their storage facilities. Man), states use their dam safety requirements to regulate the construction, operation, and maintenance of surface impoundments. CRS notes, however, that "the presence of strong dam safety requirements is nor a guanmtee that regulated unirs will actually be operated and maintained according to those

4

requirements. The requirements may be only as strong as a state's ability to enforce them." 'some states do re-quite groundwater monitoring to detect conramination from a disposal unit. However, CRS notes that a lesser number <Ire likely to have regulatory requirements to prevent groundwater contamination from occurring. For example, water contamination could be prevented in such an instance by the installation of a liner La older, unlined impoundments or landfills,

\Vater Quality Implications

In recent years, EPA has r newed its research all the potential for coal ash constituents to leach into groundwater and nearby surface water. In a series of studies, EPA re earchers found traditionally applied leachate methods and tests for testing contaminant infiltration may not reliably reflect actual leaching and infiltration processes ill the field. As a result, researchers have been developing more sophisticated testing techniques that better encompass the range of conditions expected to be found in the field. In late 2008, EPA's Office of Solid Waste recommended the use of some of these newer leachate methods and tests, and is in the process of adopting these testing protocols in its primary guidance for testing and evaluating solid waste.' \na1Y7.ing samples in condirion~.more similar to those actually found in the ficld, EPA researchers have often found significantly higher leachability of contaminants, compared to the older, traditional leachate method . Among their lindings were:

.' Boron and cadmium levels that ranged from being in compliance with drinking water standards to levels ten times higher, in FGD material leachate;

• Selenium levels that ranged from being in compliance with drinking water standards to levels at least 60 times higher, ill FGD tnatezial leachate:

ilL Barium, beryllium, boron. cadmium, chromium, thallium, selenium, and molybdenum levels that ranged from being in compliance with clri.n.king water standards to levels not in compliance with those standards, in leachate from Ily ash;

. Arsenic levels that ranged frOO1 being in compliance with drinking water standards to levels 30 times higher, in leachate from fly ash.

QJ1clLlSioos £rom these studies were that CC

i.J should not be stored or used in environments where it will come into contact with water.

Incidents of water contamination have taken place. In December 2007, a Maryland judge signed a $54 million settlement between Constellation Energy and residents of Gambrills, Maryland. Constellation Energy was penalized for dumping CCW into a wet sand and gravel quarry, ostensibly as part of a reclamation project. The CCW contaminated private wells in the area with aluminum, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, lead, manganese, and thallium, at levels above drinking water standards.

The potential for CCW to leach contaminants after being reused (i.e, beneficial use) is a function of whether the waste IS bound or encapsulated. For example, adding CCW as a component of concrete, 01' as a cement additive, would 'lock' toxic contaminants .into the material, However, an unencapsulated use, such as for structural fill without a liner 0 . as a soil additive, may result in the leaching of contaminants.

4 This EllA guidance is referred to as S\'-846, or 'Test Methods for Evaluating Solid \,\/asle, Physical/Chemical 1>.Iethods, '

5

In addition, in March 2006, the National Research Council (NRC) issued a study tha warned of the potential for water: contamination from CCW disposal in underground minea.' The NRC committee found tha the disposal of CCW in underground coal mines is a viable management option as long as the waste placement was properly planned. This planning requires an integrated process involving waste characterization. site characterization, management and enginee.t:iog design of placement activities, and design and implementation of a monitoring regime. The NRC also noted that relatively little is known about the potential for the disposal of CCW in mines to degrade groundwater and surface waters, particularly over the long term.

Beneficial Reuse of CCW

Coal ash can be recycled into other products, which is referred to as "beneficial reuse." The American Coal Ash Association estimates that 43 percent of all coal ash produced in the United States was "beneficially reused" in 2007, amounting to approximately 56 million ens."

Types of Beneficial Reuse: One of the most common beneficial uses of coal combustion waste is the application of fly ash in the production of portland cement, an ingredient used to make concrete. Fly ash contains silica, alumina, calcium, and iron oxides that bind to components of portland cement, which actually increase the Iong-term durability of concrete.' Additionally, fly ash used in portland cement reduces the significant greenhouse gas emissions that ate normally released during the production of portland cement. Several recent projects have used fly ash in portland cement, including the new I-35W bridge in l" v Iinnesota and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

CCW can also be applied :'IS a soil amendment that chemically or physically modifies the composition of the soil. It can be used to add nutrients in nutrient deficient soils, reduce soil acidity, increase the aeration in clay solids, or increase the water-bearing capacity of sandy soils." However, these practices should be properly monitored to prevent soil toxicity, because constituent may leach into groundwater.

Another increasingly common beneficial reuse of coal combustion wastes is that of flue gas desulfurization residues, which arc used as synthetic gypsum in order to make wallboard. This has become economically attractive to the wallboard industry, which has increasingly opened new plants near coal utility facilities."

There are also several other less common examples of beneficial reuse of CCW. Bottom ash and fly ash may also be used to create structural fill to produce road base materials, manufactured aggregates, flowsble fills, and embankments. Boiler slag is commonly used as a component of roofing tiles and sh.ingles, as well as a component of sand-blasting abrasives. Additionally, CCW is

I NRC. 2006. P,'[(IIIr1glilJ. 0)(1/ C()lIIll!1slirJII Rnidl/rs ill MillrJ", 6Src Ibid.

1 Federal HjghwlI)' Administration. "Fly Ash Facts for Highway Engineers." http://w\Vw.nl\ya.dor.gov! p:lvement/rC{;)'cliJJg/fn[act$.pdf

8 Carlson, C.L., and D.C . Adriano, 1993. Enviconrnenral impacts of conl combustion residues, J curnal of Environmental Quality 22:227-247.

9 National eademy of Sciences. "Managing Co~1 Combustion Residues in "lines." P~ge 47.

6

used as traction control material on snow- and ice-coveted roadways and as II perf01TIH1.IlCe enhancing product in paints, coatings, and adhesives."

Potential Issues wit/; Beneficial Reuse: There has been broad agreement that beneficial reuse of CCW is preferable to the stOJage of coat ash in landfills, mines, or surface impoundments. The EPA came to a similar conclusion in its 2000 r gulatory determination 011 CCW, which explicitly states that its regulation under RCM Subtitle C or 0 is unwarranted when coal ash is "beneficially reused." EPA concluded that such uses are unlikely to present significant risks to human health or the environment, and that regulating CCW as a hazardous waste would probably discourage its reuse and result in a greater harm to the environment.!'

However, it is worth noting that broad studies have not been conducted examining the potential ecological or human health impacts of beneficially reused CCW. Some environmentalists have voiced skepticism that ali beneficial reuses of CCW axe safe. For example, one study shows that the use of fly or bottom fish in golf course root mix rcsul ed in increased toxicity levels in leachate, compared to a control group. 12 PA and other organizations recognize that CCW needs to be managed properly and that precautions should be applied when using CCW in unencapsulated uses. Therefore, while beneficial reuse may be less environmentally harmful than stoting CC\XI in landfills, surface impoundments, or mines, more research may be tlccessuy to make a more reliable determination of the circumstances when beneficial reuse of CCW is appropriate.

###BOT_TEXT###quot;VlTNESSES

Pallel I

Mr. Barry Breen Acting Assistant Administrator

U .. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Washington, D.C.

Accompallied BI

Mr. Michael Shapiro

Acting Assistant Administrator U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water Washington, D.C.

10 lational Academy of Sciences, "Managing Coal Combustion Residues rn Mines." Pag 46-47,

11 EP/I.. "Regulatory Derermination on \,(fnsLes from the Combustion of Fossil Fuels; Final Rule." 40 CFR. PUt 261. lillP-: II www.epn.go

los\' I nonhn/indstrbll spccial/fQssili ff2f- eLpd r

12 Schlossberg. Maxim J. and William P. I Iiller, "T race Element Transport in Purring Green Root Mixes .. \mended hI' Coal Combustion Products (Cep)." COllI ClJlllbllJ/ilJlI Fl)prIJdllr;fi all(/ ElIl'iflJllllIcllfrJl Issms. 2006.

7

Ms. Catherine McCabe

Acting Assistant Administrator

U.S. Environmental Protection .Agency Office of Enforcement and Compliance ssurance Wasltington, D.C.

Han. Shari Wilson Secretary

Maryland Department of the Environment Baltimore, Maryland

Panel II

Mr. Eric Schaeffer Executive Director Environmenral Inrcgrity Project W::tshington, D.C.

Mr. John M. McManus

Vice President of Environmental Services American Electric Power Colwnbus, Ohio

Mr. David Goss

Former Executive Director American Coal Ash Association Aurora, COJOLllelO representing the Ellison Electric institute

Dr. Conrad Volz

Assistant Professor, of Environmental and Occupational Health Director, Center for Healthy Environments and Communities University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

representing the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group

8

(/. (11: will use this nomenclature in rlus memorandum.

combustion chamber, as well as fine panicles that arc removed from the flue gas. The various types of CCW include:

• F!)' ash: fly ash is captured in the power plant's stack, or chimney, by particulate removal process es, 5 uch as electros ta tic precipira tion or fabric fil tcrs, to avoid release in to the air. It has a fine consistency like talcum powder.

• BottO/II asb: Bottom ash consists of coarse, gritty particles that are too large to be carried in flue gases. This material either gathers on the furnace walls or falls through open grates on the floor of the furnace into an ash hopper. Bottom ash has a size and consistency similar to fine sand Or gravel.

• Boiler llag: Boiler slag is produced when molten coal slag comes into contact with water used in power plant furnaces. The molten slag fractures, crystallizes, and then f0011S pellets. Boiler slag is uniform in size, hard, and durable.

• Fllfe gtiJ dCJ//ljifl7ifllioll (FGD) lJIatcnn/: PGD 15 a chemical process implemented in order to meet Clean Air Act emissions requirements, The process chemically combines the sulfur gases released during combustion by reacting them with a binding agent, or sorbent, such as limestone, lime, or ammonia. Depending all the .rGD process used at a particular plant, the PGD material produced can be either a wet sludge or dry powder.

Of the 131 million tons of coal ash produced in 2007, d1C American Coal Ash Association estimates that 71 million tons is fly ash, 20 million tons is bottom ash and boiler slag. and 40 million tons is FGD rna terial.

The physical and chemical characteristics of CCW are a function of the chemical characteristics of the source coal, coal-cleaning processes and technologies, the chemical characteristics of any co-fired materials, and the processes or technology used to burn the coal and filter the ash at a given plant. CCW represents the noncombustible constituents of coal. Therefore, the chemical constituency of the coal componcm of CCW is strongly influenced by the source coal used. CCW can also include the chemical characteristics of non-C0:11 substances that may be coIired along with the coal, such as wood, biomass, plastics, petroleum coke, tire-derived fuel, ref1.1SCderived fuel. or manufactured gas plant waste. Finally> CCW characteristics are affected by the combustion, air emission control, and ·esidue-hand.ling, or CCW-handling (collection systems that will result in either wet or dry CC\XI), technologies used at II particular plant.

The principle constituents found in. CCW include silica, alumina, iron oxide> potassium, calcium, and magnesium, The distribution of these components is a function of the regional source of the coal. Different regions produce different types of coal: for example, bituminous, subbituminous, or lignite.

Coal also naturally contains a.L:&eruc, ba .: 1111, bery } boicn QJdmjul11, chr niul11,

thallium, selenium, molj.bdcTltal11, and mercury in small conceutrnrions, am011 other elements. 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l.hen coal 1'5 laurned, the metals become concentrated at levels higher than tha ound in U1f! natural, nbufhe, cml. Most of these metals are captured in the ash and FGD materials. WIllie levels of these metals will vat,)" based on the particular source of the CCW, all ~.W will likely include these

2

'111atcrialsl CCWs wlT also likely include toxic organic materials, such as eli xins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) compounds.

As the nation's energy needs increase and ail: pollution regulations becomemore stringent, the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory anticipates that the volumes of ecw produced will increase, DOE anticipates an additional 30 million tons of CCW will be produced annually within at least ten years.

Regulationof Coal Storage and Disposal

CW is currently sllbjeC'..t 0 reguLati&D\s a i~on-haz'trdol1s lid,\vastc) substance under the

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and is exempt from federal hazardous waste management regulations under that statute. As a result, it is regulated primaril)' by the states. These state statutory and regulatcry requirements vat)' considerably. In practical terms, the primary federal role in the management of ecw stomge and disposal is through Clean Water Act pennitting requirements (for those CCW storage and disposal fllciEtjcs subject to them).

Federal Regulation: The federal government bas weighed the regulation of CW since at least 1980. During the 1980 RCM reauthorization, Representative Bevill introduced an amendment, which was adopted, that required EPA to defer the imposition of hazardous waste regulatory requirements for CCW until data regarding the materials' potential hazard 0 human health or the environment could be analyzed. This is referred to as the Bevill A mcndrnent, According to the Congressional Research Service celtS), since 1980, EPJ\ has conducted various studies, submitted reports to Congress, and made regulatol)' determinations in response to the directives in the Bevill Amendment. Other federal agencies, such as the Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining (OSr,,!), have also engaged in actions concerning the storage or disposal of CCW.

In 1999, partly as a result of variations in state requirements, EPA eternllned that national 'egulations under ReRA regarding CCW disposal were needed. On tvIay 22, 2000, EPA issued a regulatory determination' that concluded that CCW waste from powel: producing facilities did not warrant regulation as a hazardous waste under Subtitle C of RCRA.3 However, l.'!:P/~C1cl[j-miilecl

rI n nauonal regulations as non-hazardous waste (solid waste) under Subtitle D of RCRA were warranted for CCW when disposed or stored in landfills or ~lAirf.'lcc impoundment. In order to consistently J:eguhre cew, EPA stated its intent to promu gate regulations under Subtitle D. To date, regulations pursuant to this regulatory determination have not been proposed or issued.

In its May 22, 2000 regulatory determination, EPA also concluded that no additional regulations were warrauted for ecw to be reused or used beneficially, The agency stated that it did

2 65 FR 32214 .

.1 RCM was enacted in 1976. It is intended [0 protect human health and the environment (rom the potential hazards or waste disposal and to ensure that wastes are mnll:lged in an environmerually sound manner, 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s Subtitle C creates n hazardous waste rnenagemcnt program that directs EPJ-\ to develop criteria for identifying the characrcrisrics of hazardous waste nnd to develop waste management criteria applicable to that hazardous waste, RCRA's Subtitle D establishes state and local govcrnments as the primary planning. regulati.n.g, and implementing entities for the management of solid waste. Solid waste under Subrirle D commonly includes household garbage and non-hazardous solid waste. In 1984, the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to RCRA directed EP,-\ to establish national criteria for municipal solid waste landfills under Subtitle D.

3

not wish to place flny unnecessary barriers on the beneficial use of CC\Xl so that the material could be used in applications that conserve natural resources and [educe disposal. costs.

In March, 2007, OSM issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding rhc disposal of CCW in active and abandoned mines. However, draft rules have 110t ret been proposed. In addition, following the December 2008 CCW release at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant (Harriman, Tennessee), the EPA announced on March 9, 2009 that the ::tgency would propose regulations to address CCW disposal in landfills and surface impoundments by the end of 2009.

S:Ol~1e cr:w storage 6f'disposalllnits - especially surface ll:nEOllndments, \vhicb LIandle~t ~W - may be su8ject to federal water pollution control regulations. '1 st6f:age or disposal unit that ) bas an outfall that discharges to surface water is required to meet the effluent guitleliHes pllIsW'ln t to 1 the CLean ###BOT_TEXT###quot;{IateL Act, and specified in a facility's National Pollutant DiSCharge Hllmination Systcrn (NPDES) permit.

State Regulation: Other than federal water pollution regulations, and in the absence of federal solid waste regulations under RCRA, the de facto controlling regulatory regime for CC\XI storage and disposal is subject to the requirements of the state in which a particular facility is located. State regulations for CCW storage and disposal vury 6:0111 state to state. They can also vary from storage unit to storage unit. Forexample, a given state may regulate landfills and surface impoundments using different regulatory requirements. Additionally, for: example, older units may be treated differently than newer units, based on'g:mndfadlering' provisions.

CCW Management Approaches

Currently, CC,,\-x' is stored in approximately 1,300 locations across the United States. Of these, 620 arc actively being used. 111is subset includes landfills, storage ponds, and surface impoundments. The remaining approximately 700 locations are old, unused, or dosed sites.

After the coal is burned in a power plant furnace, the residue is removed from the plant.

Depending on a given plant's technology and processcs, the CCW residue is removed in either a my Of wet foern, To aid the transportation from the furnace to storage or disposal facilities, some facilities usc technology that mixes the ash with water. This slurry is then pumped to storage facilities known as surface impoundments. Over time the solids will settle out in these facilities, leaving water at the surface, This water is ultimately removed from. the impoundment. Surface impoundments, used for the storage of wet CCW, may be a natural or a man-made depression or diked area formed of earthen materials, Asb llHu IS fOlillOyad tuJl'l &ciJici~ in a tlrJ £"'01111 is ~m1:ed or disposed of~ in landfills, iCCW is also disposed of, in either wet or dry forms, or as an amafgama.iion ,1th other materials, in either surface or underground mines. The Utilities Solid Waste Activities Group estimates that 45 percent of opera ting storage and disposal sites are surface im poundmen ts,

States use a variety of regulatory approaches for their storage facilities. Man), states use their dam safety requirements to regulate the construction, operation, and maintenance of surface impoundments. CRS notes, however, that "the presence of strong dam safety requirements is nor a guanmtee that regulated unirs will actually be operated and maintained according to those

4

requirements. The requirements may be only as strong as a state's ability to enforce them." 'some states do re-quite groundwater monitoring to detect conramination from a disposal unit. However, CRS notes that a lesser number <Ire likely to have regulatory requirements to prevent groundwater contamination from occurring. For example, water contamination could be prevented in such an instance by the installation of a liner La older, unlined impoundments or landfills,

\Vater Quality Implications

In recent years, EPA has r newed its research all the potential for coal ash constituents to leach into groundwater and nearby surface water. In a series of studies, EPA re earchers found traditionally applied leachate methods and tests for testing contaminant infiltration may not reliably reflect actual leaching and infiltration processes ill the field. As a result, researchers have been developing more sophisticated testing techniques that better encompass the range of conditions expected to be found in the field. In late 2008, EPA's Office of Solid Waste recommended the use of some of these newer leachate methods and tests, and is in the process of adopting these testing protocols in its primary guidance for testing and evaluating solid waste.' \na1Y7.ing samples in condirion~.more similar to those actually found in the ficld, EPA researchers have often found significantly higher leachability of contaminants, compared to the older, traditional leachate method . Among their lindings were:

.' Boron and cadmium levels that ranged from being in compliance with drinking water standards to levels ten times higher, in FGD material leachate;

• Selenium levels that ranged from being in compliance with drinking water standards to levels at least 60 times higher, ill FGD tnatezial leachate:

ilL Barium, beryllium, boron. cadmium, chromium, thallium, selenium, and molybdenum levels that ranged from being in compliance with clri.n.king water standards to levels not in compliance with those standards, in leachate from Ily ash;

. Arsenic levels that ranged frOO1 being in compliance with drinking water standards to levels 30 times higher, in leachate from fly ash.

QJ1clLlSioos £rom these studies were that 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i.J should not be stored or used in environments where it will come into contact with water.

Incidents of water contamination have taken place. In December 2007, a Maryland judge signed a $54 million settlement between Constellation Energy and residents of Gambrills, Maryland. Constellation Energy was penalized for dumping CCW into a wet sand and gravel quarry, ostensibly as part of a reclamation project. The CCW contaminated private wells in the area with aluminum, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, lead, manganese, and thallium, at levels above drinking water standards.

The potential for CCW to leach contaminants after being reused (i.e, beneficial use) is a function of whether the waste IS bound or encapsulated. For example, adding CCW as a component of concrete, 01' as a cement additive, would 'lock' toxic contaminants .into the material, However, an unencapsulated use, such as for structural fill without a liner 0 . as a soil additive, may result in the leaching of contaminants.

4 This EllA guidance is referred to as S\'-846, or 'Test Methods for Evaluating Solid \,\/asle, Physical/Chemical 1>.Iethods, '

5

In addition, in March 2006, the National Research Council (NRC) issued a study tha warned of the potential for water: contamination from CCW disposal in underground minea.' The NRC committee found tha the disposal of CCW in underground coal mines is a viable management option as long as the waste placement was properly planned. This planning requires an integrated process involving waste characterization. site characterization, management and enginee.t:iog design of placement activities, and design and implementation of a monitoring regime. The NRC also noted that relatively little is known about the potential for the disposal of CCW in mines to degrade groundwater and surface waters, particularly over the long term.

Beneficial Reuse of CCW

Coal ash can be recycled into other products, which is referred to as "beneficial reuse." The American Coal Ash Association estimates that 43 percent of all coal ash produced in the United States was "beneficially reused" in 2007, amounting to approximately 56 million ens."

Types of Beneficial Reuse: One of the most common beneficial uses of coal combustion waste is the application of fly ash in the production of portland cement, an ingredient used to make concrete. Fly ash contains silica, alumina, calcium, and iron oxides that bind to components of portland cement, which actually increase the Iong-term durability of concrete.' Additionally, fly ash used in portland cement reduces the significant greenhouse gas emissions that ate normally released during the production of portland cement. Several recent projects have used fly ash in portland cement, including the new I-35W bridge in l" v Iinnesota and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

CCW can also be applied :'IS a soil amendment that chemically or physically modifies the composition of the soil. It can be used to add nutrients in nutrient deficient soils, reduce soil acidity, increase the aeration in clay solids, or increase the water-bearing capacity of sandy soils." However, these practices should be properly monitored to prevent soil toxicity, because constituent may leach into groundwater.

Another increasingly common beneficial reuse of coal combustion wastes is that of flue gas desulfurization residues, which arc used as synthetic gypsum in order to make wallboard. This has become economically attractive to the wallboard industry, which has increasingly opened new plants near coal utility facilities."

There are also several other less common examples of beneficial reuse of CCW. Bottom ash and fly ash may also be used to create structural fill to produce road base materials, manufactured aggregates, flowsble fills, and embankments. Boiler slag is commonly used as a component of roofing tiles and sh.ingles, as well as a component of sand-blasting abrasives. Additionally, CCW is

I NRC. 2006. P,'[(IIIr1glilJ. 0)(1/ C()lIIll!1slirJII Rnidl/rs ill MillrJ", 6Src Ibid.

1 Federal HjghwlI)' Administration. "Fly Ash Facts for Highway Engineers." http://w\Vw.nl\ya.dor.gov! p:lvement/rC{;)'cliJJg/fn[act$.pdf

8 Carlson, C.L., and D.C . Adriano, 1993. Enviconrnenral impacts of conl combustion residues, J curnal of Environmental Quality 22:227-247.

9 National eademy of Sciences. "Managing Co~1 Combustion Residues in "lines." P~ge 47.

6

used as traction control material on snow- and ice-coveted roadways and as II perf01TIH1.IlCe enhancing product in paints, coatings, and adhesives."

Potential Issues wit/; Beneficial Reuse: There has been broad agreement that beneficial reuse of CCW is preferable to the stOJage of coat ash in landfills, mines, or surface impoundments. The EPA came to a similar conclusion in its 2000 r gulatory determination 011 CCW, which explicitly states that its regulation under RCM Subtitle C or 0 is unwarranted when coal ash is "beneficially reused." EPA concluded that such uses are unlikely to present significant risks to human health or the environment, and that regulating CCW as a hazardous waste would probably discourage its reuse and result in a greater harm to the environment.!'

However, it is worth noting that broad studies have not been conducted examining the potential ecological or human health impacts of beneficially reused CCW. Some environmentalists have voiced skepticism that ali beneficial reuses of CCW axe safe. For example, one study shows that the use of fly or bottom fish in golf course root mix rcsul ed in increased toxicity levels in leachate, compared to a control group. 12 PA and other organizations recognize that CCW needs to be managed properly and that precautions should be applied when using CCW in unencapsulated uses. Therefore, while beneficial reuse may be less environmentally harmful than stoting CC\XI in landfills, surface impoundments, or mines, more research may be tlccessuy to make a more reliable determination of the circumstances when beneficial reuse of CCW is appropriate.

###BOT_TEXT###quot;VlTNESSES

Pallel I

Mr. Barry Breen Acting Assistant Administrator

U .. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Washington, D.C.

Accompallied BI

Mr. Michael Shapiro

Acting Assistant Administrator U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water Washington, D.C.

10 lational Academy of Sciences, "Managing Coal Combustion Residues rn Mines." Pag 46-47,

11 EP/I.. "Regulatory Derermination on \,(fnsLes from the Combustion of Fossil Fuels; Final Rule." 40 CFR. PUt 261. lillP-: II 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los\' I nonhn/indstrbll spccial/fQssili ff2f- eLpd r

12 Schlossberg. Maxim J. and William P. I Iiller, "T race Element Transport in Purring Green Root Mixes .. \mended hI' Coal Combustion Products (Cep)." COllI ClJlllbllJ/ilJlI Fl)prIJdllr;fi all(/ ElIl'iflJllllIcllfrJl Issms. 2006.

7

Ms. Catherine McCabe

Acting Assistant Administrator

U.S. Environmental Protection .Agency Office of Enforcement and Compliance ssurance Wasltington, D.C.

Han. Shari Wilson Secretary

Maryland Department of the Environment Baltimore, Maryland

Panel II

Mr. Eric Schaeffer Executive Director Environmenral Inrcgrity Project W::tshington, D.C.

Mr. John M. McManus

Vice President of Environmental Services American Electric Power Colwnbus, Ohio

Mr. David Goss

Former Executive Director American Coal Ash Association Aurora, COJOLllelO representing the Ellison Electric institute

Dr. Conrad Volz

Assistant Professor, of Environmental and Occupational Health Director, Center for Healthy Environments and Communities University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

representing the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group

8

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