We’ve previously written about environmental regulations passed by the EPA in connection with coal ash ponds. Those regulations, as we’ve noted, require companies to routinely test these ponds for toxin levels and to decommission those which build up an excess of toxins. One of the realities with coal ash is that it is a waste product that needs to be dealt with in order to avoid contamination of ecosystems and human populations.
One of the ways coal ash is disposed of is to simply dump it into landfills. According to the EPA, roughly 36 percent of coal ash waste generated by utilities in 2007 was disposed of in this way. Oftentimes, this disposal is done on-site where it presents the causing health problems through inhalation and groundwater contamination.
It is understandable, then, that plans to dump coal ash in Wayne County, near the town of Screven, is causing uproar among local residents and elected officials. The Army Corps of Engineers is reportedly reviewing plans to build a rail yard near a local landfill that would serve as a storage site for up to 100 train car loads of coal ash and/or municipal waste per day. The proposal is part of a contract with Central Virginia Properties, a subsidiary of waste and recycling company Republic Services. No decision has yet been made about the project, though one is expected early next month.
For the project to go forward, the proposal must be approved by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
Coal ash, as we’ve noted, is a serious environmental concern, and proper disposal of this waste product is necessary to avoid state and federal penalties. In our next post, we’ll look briefly at some of the federal requirements.
Southeast Coal Ash Waste, “Coal Ash Storage Methods,” Accessed Jan. 26, 2016.