The announcement followed seven years of advocacy aimed at convincing EPA that a “hazardous” designation for coal ash would do more harm than good. ACPA was among the transportation, construction, and materials organizations that urged the agency not to classify the material as hazardous. ACPA asked the EPA to regulate fly ash (coal combustion products) under subtitle D of RCRA (rather than Subtitle C), and this is ultimately what the EPA granted.
Background ACPA filed multiple sets of comments with EPA, stating and reinforcing the overarching benefits of coal ash, an essential material used in secondary cementitious materials and ternary mixes. Coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power generation, is recycled and used in transportation construction projects, improving project life spans and reducing material costs.
In 2007, EPA announced it was considering regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste. Since that time, a number of organizations, including ACPA, have opposed a “hazardous” label for fly ash and other forms of coal ash.
In 2011, ARTBA’s Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) released a study that concluded the cost to build highways, streets & roads, airport pavements, and bridges would increase by an estimated $104.6 billion over the next 20 years if fly ash were no longer available as a transportation construction building material.
Looking Ahead It should be noted that EPA did issue new regulations on how coal ash is stored, but this should not have a great impact on the transportation construction industry. In a statement released today, ARTBA announced it will be thoroughly analyzing EPA’s decision and the accompanying proposed rule to ensure there are no “hidden” detrimental impacts on the beneficial use of recycled coal ash.
Additional Information For additional information about the rule, please follow this link: http://www2.epa.gov/coalash/coal-ash-rule/. For more information about fly ash, follow this link: http://www2.epa.gov/coalash/.