- Last week, the U.S. EPA Region 7 approved Kansas' plan to implement rules for the safe disposal of coal ash from coal-fired power plants.
- The rules will regulate coal ash disposal to create a safe environment for communities from coal ash impoundment failures. The rules will also prevent groundwater contamination and air emissions from coal ash disposal.
- By having the new coal ash requirements in its solid waste management plan, Kansas will benefit by: improving the ability of coal ash facility operators to achieve the protections of the rule, allowing public participation in decisions regarding coal ash, and proving to the EPA that the state coal ash requirements meet (or exceed) the federal requirements.
The American Coal Ash Association reports that 115 million tons of material was produced in 2013, with slightly more than half requiring disposal, and the remainder reused for material such as cement and plasterboard.
In April, the Federal Register published the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities, providing new federal regulations for the disposal and management of coal ash. Anne Germain, director of waste and recycling technology for the National Waste & Recycling Association, wrote that the new rules would open up service and disposal opportunities for the solid waste industry. Kansas has exemplified those opportunities.
"We applaud the State of Kansas for their leadership in protecting human health and the environment by ensuring the responsible management of coal ash," said EPA Region 7 Acting Administrator Mark Hague in a press release. "Kansas has shown us the importance of integrating these protections into their State Solid Waste Management Plans."