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Energy Co. Agrees to Clean Up Coal Ash Disposal Sites in North Carolina

Posted on January 21, 2020 by Lauren Scott

A Charlotte-based electricity provider has struck a deal with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to eliminate 72.5 million tons of coal ash from six sites across the state. The settlement resolves allegations that the company stored coal ash in landfills and ponds for decades.

As part of the agreement, the energy company will excavate coal ash from Allen, Belews Creek, Cliffside, Marshall, Mayo, and Roxboro sites into State-certified landfills. The project is expected to be completed by 2035.

Coal Ash as a Hazardous Waste

Coal combustion residuals, also known as CCRs or coal ash, are typically produced from the burning of coal in power plants.  Coal ash includes several by-products of burning coal, including fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas desulfurization material.

Coal ash is Federally regulated by EPA because it often contains dangerous substances such as mercury, cadmium, and arsenic that can pollute waterways, groundwater, drinking water, and air.

These substances are known carcinogens and may cause nose and throat irritation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath. Long-term exposure can lead to liver and/or kidney damage, cardiac arrhythmia, and a variety of cancers.

A Historic Cleanup

Including other cleanups already underway, the energy provider is set to excavate roughly 124 million tons of coal ash. DEQ says this will be the largest coal ash cleanup in US history.

The company has committed to recycling as much coal ash as possible for use in construction materials. This has community environmental groups and State officials calling the deal a win for everyone. A public hearing has been scheduled for February to address any questions or concerns before the arrangement is finalized.

In July 2018, EPA unveiled the first phase of its plan to reconsider and/or revise a 2015 rule that aimed to prevent coal combustion residuals from entering the environment.

RCRA Training—When and Where You Want

US EPA requires hazardous waste professionals to complete annual training on the RCRA requirements. Lion makes it easy to meet your RCRA training mandate in a variety of formats—nationwide public workshops, convenient online courses, live webinars, and on-site training.

Browse RCRA training options here to find the course that fits your needs, your schedule, and your learning style.