EPA announced today it will initiate a rulemaking procedure that would be used to assist EPA in determining how to better regulate coal ash. The proposal calls for public comment on two approaches: Subtitle C of RCRA for hazardous waste or Subtitle D of RCRA as a solid non-hazardous waste primarily enforced by citizen suits. Click the link for coal ash rulemaking to view more on the rulemaking procedure. Of course Subtitle C pertains to cradle to grave management while Subtitle D addresses facilities. A chart comparing and contrasting the two approaches is available HERE.
Under both approaches proposed by EPA, the agency would leave in place the Bevill exemption for beneficial uses of coal ash in which coal combustion residuals are recycled as components of products instead of placed in impoundments or landfills. Large quantities of coal ash are used today in concrete, cement, wallboard and other contained applications that should not involve any exposure by the public to unsafe contaminants. These uses would not be impacted by today’s proposal. EPA is seeking public comment on how to frame the continued exemption of beneficial uses from regulation and is focusing in particular on whether that exemption should exclude certain non-contained applications where contaminants in coal ash could pose risks to human health.
The public comment period is 90 days from the date the rule is published in the Federal Register.