2014 Final Rule: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities, Prepublication

Coal-burning electric utilities produce large volumes of residual materials that must be managed properly.  The challenge is compounded by regulations that are changing.  New requirements for air pollution control, water pollution control, and management of residuals on land are being implemented over the next several years, and several highly-publicized releases of coal ash have increased pressure on utilities to modify their systems for managing coal combustion residuals (CCRs).

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SCS assists utilities and others in meeting the challenges of properly managing CCRs in the face of evolving regulations.  An early example is the firm’s 1982 Manual for Upgrading Existing Disposal Facilities that was prepared for the Electric Power Research Institute.  More recently, we have assisted a number of utilities and others in evaluating management options, designing new and upgraded facilities, and responding to concerns about historical ash management practices.  Here is a link to SCS’s Technical Bulletinsummarizing EPA’s final CCR disposal rules.

As utilities alter CCR characteristics (e.g., to remove mercury from air emissions), convert from wet to dry collection of CCRs, or seek to beneficially use CCR materials, there are complex issues that must be resolved. Often the answers depend on a combination of science, engineering, law, and public communications.  Addressing these issues while continuing to reliably produce electricity for customers who depend on is especially challenging.

SCS has the experience and capability to assist multi-disciplinary teams in seeking appropriate solutions to these complicated problems.  Our services include:

  • Evaluation of historical CCR management facilities, including geotechnical stability;  fate and effect of potential releases to groundwater, surface water, and air; and alternatives for upgrading, repairing, or remediating problems identified.
  • Feasibility studies and master plans for new or replacement CCR management systems.
  • Design and implementation of closure and post-closure care for facilities that are no longer needed, including redevelopment for other uses where appropriate.
  • Design of state-of-the-art CCR landfills, including liners, leachate collection, covers, and stormwater management systems.
  • Construction, construction management, and construction quality assurance for new CCR management facilities and repairs to existing facilities.
  • Operation, maintenance, and monitoring of disposal facilities and environmental control systems.
  • Evaluation of beneficial uses for CCRs, including opportunities that displace greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise represent sustainable solutions.
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