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EPA Marks Beneficial Coal Ash Uses

The EPA released its evaluation of the two largest beneficial uses of encapsulated coal combustion residuals (CCR), or coal ash: use in concrete as a substitute for Portland cement, and the use of flue gas desulfurization gypsum as a substitute for mined gypsum in wallboard.

Under a new evaluation, EPA concluded that the beneficial use of encapsulated coal ash in concrete and wallboard is appropriate because it is comparable to virgin materials or below the agency’s health and environmental benchmarks.

These two uses account for nearly half of the total amount of coal ash that is beneficially used.

In evaluating these two beneficial uses, EPA used its newly developed Methodology for Evaluating Encapsulated Beneficial Uses of Coal Combustion Residuals. The methodology is intended to assist states and other interested parties with evaluating and making informed determinations about encapsulated beneficial uses of CCRs.

A burst pipe and ensuing leak in North Carolina has shown the hazards of long-term storage.

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