Coal Ash Management and Regulations


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Coal accounts for more than a third of electricity generation in the U.S., resulting in over 130 million short tons of coal combustion residuals (CCR) annually. This makes coal ash one of the largest waste streams in the U.S. To put this in perspective, the tonnage of coal ash alone is equivalent to roughly half the total tonnage of municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in the U.S. annually. Notwithstanding an increase in natural gas supplies and a focus on renewable sources of energy, coal will feature prominently in the energy mix for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently proposed rules on how CCRs should be managed (e.g., Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Subtitle C vs. Subtitle D) and has advocated for alternate means of CCR testing (Leaching Environmental Assessment Framework versus Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure or the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure). This course provides a primer on CCRs as well as recommendations for their management and characterization in light of these changes.

Upon completion of this course, the attendee will be able to:

  • Describe coal combustion basics
  • Discuss ash uses and regulations
  • Demonstrate the mineralogy and composition of fly ash and flue gas desulfurization gypsum (FGD or “synthetic” gypsum)
  • Describe the basic concepts of ash leachability and risks associated
  • Define field measurements for CCRs

Course Length

53 minutes

Presenter Biography

JOHN L. DANIELS, D.Eng. is currently the Interim Chair and an Associate Professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Previously he was a Program Director for the Geomechanics/Geomaterials and Geotechnical Engineering Programs in the Directorate for Engineering, Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation as well as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Division of Engineering Education and Centers at the U.S. National Science Foundation. His research has been funded by engineering firms, public and private utilities, as well as state and federal agencies. Much of this work has focused on physical and chemical controls on soils and industrial byproducts, including coal combustion residuals. His textbook, co-authored with H-Y. Fang, entitled “Introductory Geotechnical Engineering: An Environmental Perspective” was released in 2006. His teaching interests include waste containment, groundwater, chemical fate and transport and ground improvement. He has worked for TRC Environmental Corporation, Lowell, MA as a project engineer and is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) in Massachusetts and North Carolina. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA; a Masters and a Doctorate in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

CHRIS HARDIN, P.E. is a geotechnical and environmental professional engineer with over 24 years’ experience specializing in the technical and business management aspects of responsible waste handling, renewable energy and beneficial reuse of industrial material. He is the Coal Combustion Practice Leader of Haley & Aldrich and a Senior Fellow at the IDEAS Center and the Energy Production Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at UNC Charlotte. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1987 and is a registered professional engineer in seven states including North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. He started and successfully ran a 25-person engineering company for nine years that specialized in landfill design, coal combustion by-product containment design, construction quality assurance (CQA), groundwater remediation, and forensic evaluation of failing geotechnical projects. His experience includes the development of waste shed studies, the evaluation of beneficial reuse plans for industrial byproducts, practical research for the beneficial reuse of coal combustion byproducts, and developing guidelines for reducing carbon emissions from wide variety of construction and waste disposal activities. His responsibilities have included serving as national client service manager, engineering design team leader, national practice leader, and senior project manager for solid waste, coal ash containments, and international sediment remediation projects in the US and China. P.E. License numbers 018225 (North Carolina), 15713 (South Carolina), 0402024072 (Virginia).


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