According to Chris VandeVenter, Basin Electric legislative representative, the agency is considering two options. Both would regulate coal combustion wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
The EPA would list these residuals as special wastes subject to regulation under subchapter C of RCRA. Subchapter C authorizes EPA to establish standards to be met by hazardous waste handling facilities, and allows states to administer programs to assure compliance with the standards. But it also gives EPA more authority to enforce than under subchapter D. “It’s more restrictive, requires state or federal permits, and phases out new surface impoundments,” VandeVenter says.
Coal ash would be regulated under subchapter D of RCRA. Subchapter D applies to non-hazardous wastes and non-hazardous waste landfills. EPA establishes the standards to be met by non-hazardous waste landfills, but leaves it to states to administer programs to assure compliance with the standards. “It’s less restrictive, doesn’t have a permitting requirement, and new and existing impoundments would need to be lined,” he says.
To see a comparison of the key differences between the two options, click this link: Coal Combustion Residuals – Key differences between Subtitle C and Subtitle D options
For more information about the consequences of the proposed new regulations, click this link: Historic Coal Ash Disposal Regulations Finally Proposed by EPA
Basin Electric spokesperson Daryl Hill was interviewed by The Gillette News-Record on this issue.
Click this link for the full story: Coal ash rules could affect power plants in Wyoming
The following is an excerpt from The Gillette News-Record’s May 6, 2010 edition:
But the ash disposal from the Dry Fork plant will be handled “dry,” Hill said, meaning there won’t be a pond or water impoundments to hold the ash. That is how Basin Electric handles coal ash at its Antelope Valley station in North Dakota.
Basin Electric’s Laramie River Station near Wheatland has a couple of small containment ponds with coal ash where the water is recycled into the plant and the coal ash is dried out then buried in a landfill.
After the dry coal ash is collected at Dry Fork, it will be disposed of at a landfill near the power plant.
“The disposal areas for that ash at both Dry Fork and Antelope Valley will be lined with a clay liner,” Hill said. “It is virtually impermeable so that the ash, once in place, will remain there and will be protected from moisture leaching (coal ash) out.”