- Waste Management Inc. anticipates a growth in its sales if a proposed EPA rule that requires coal-fired power plants to dispose of ash in lined landfills is adopted.
- CEO David Steiner says the agency's ruling would probably require coal ash pits to be replaced by engineered landfills.
- The EPA is now contemplating if it should regulate coal ash under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or categorize it as non-hazardous waste under Subtitle D. The agency is expected to reach a final ruling by the end of 2014.
If the EPA decides to regulate the coal under Subtitle C, it would be considered hazardous and would be subject to hazardous waste regulations. If the agency rules the waste to be non-hazardous under Subtitle D, then the states would receive the authority to regulate the ash.
Coal ash is the second largest industrial waste stream in the country, and Steiner sees handling the material as an expansion opportunity for the hauler. Around 140 million tons of coal waste is produced by electric utility companies annually. Waste Management currently handles 100 million tons of trash every year. Steiner also said that if Waste Management could score a small portion of the coal ash market, it could potentially result in 10 million tons of additional sales per year.
Coal ash can be recycled for use in road construction, concrete, as a gypsum substitute and as a fertilizer supplement.