Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US have recently been moving towards regulating coal ash. Coal ash, commonly known as fly ash is the toxic byproduct of burning coal for electricity. Captured from the chimneys of power plants, it is stored in containment sites or dumped. Estimates say that 131 million tons of ash is produced every year by the hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the US.
The slurry disaster at the Tennessee Valley Authority facility in Kingston, Tennessee last year drew the attention of many environmental activists and the authorities.
Though some portion of the ash is used for producing cement, majority of it is left unregulated. Since there is no comprehensive federal policy on coal ash oversight, EPA has formulated certain plans to prevent future threats.
The agency’s plan comprises measures to gather critical coal ash impoundment information from electrical utilities across the country, conduct on-site assessments to determine its vulnerabilities, order cleanup and repairs where needed, and develop new regulations for future safety.
Reports will be prepared based on the assessment and analysis of all such units located at electric utilities in the U.S. and these will be made available to the public.
The agency is also working on developing regulations regarding coal combustion residuals and its regulations. Here’s a video for you:
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