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MANAGING COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUES IN MINES Committee on Mine Placement of Coal Combustion Wastes Committee on Earth Resources Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Division on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Insti- tute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the Environmental Protection Agency, Award No. 68-C-03- 081 (Task Order No. 6). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations ex- pressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-10049-6 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-65472-6 (PDF) Library of Congress Control Number 2006926500 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334- 3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Cover design by Michele de la Menardiere. The cover depicts end products of coal- burning power plants: electricity and coal combustion residues (CCRs). The two CCRs shown, bottom ash and fly ash, are used with permission from the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA). Copyright 2006 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achieve- ments of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the respon- sibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Acad- emies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
COMMITTEE ON MINE PLACEMENT OF COAL COMBUSTION WASTES Members PERRY R. HAGENSTEIN, Chair, Institute for Forest Analysis, Planning, and Policy, Wayland, Massachusetts GEORGE R. HALLBERG, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Watertown, Massachusetts WILLIAM A. HOPKINS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg THOMAS J. O'NEIL, Cleveland Cliffs, Inc. (retired), Prescott, Arizona CHARLES L. POOLE, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill CAROL J. PTACEK, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada ROBIN M. RIDGWAY, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana LARRY ROBINSON, Florida A & M University, Tallahassee MADAN M. SINGH, Department of Mines and Mineral Resources, State of Arizona, Phoenix MARK S. SQUILLACE, University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder RICHARD J. SWEIGARD, University of Kentucky, Lexington BAILUS WALKER, Howard University, Washington, D.C. JOHN J. WARWICK, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada JEFFREY J. WONG, California Environmental Protection Agency, Sacramento Staff TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Study Director (Until March 2006) ELIZABETH EIDE, Study Director (From March 2006) K. JOHN HOLMES, Senior Program Officer STEPHANIE E. JOHNSON, Senior Program Officer TANJA E. PILZAK, Research Associate SANDI M. RUDENSTEIN, Report Review Officer SARAH M. CAPOTE, Senior Program Assistant JAMES B. DAVIS, Program Assistant (Until December 2005) NICHOLAS D. ROGERS Program Assistant (From February 2006) v
COMMITTEE ON EARTH RESOURCES Members MURRAY W. HITZMAN, Chair, Colorado School of Mines, Golden PAUL M. BERTSCH, University of Georgia, Aiken, South Carolina FRANCIS P. BURKE, CONSOL Energy Inc., South Park, Pennsylvania WILLIAM S. CONDIT, Independent Consultant, Santa Fe, New Mexico HENRY F. DALTON, Independent Consultant, Louisville, Colorado MICHAEL DOGGETT, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada THOMAS V. FALKIE, Berwind Natural Resources Corporation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania PATRICIA M. HALL, BP America, Inc., Houston, Texas DAVID D. LAURISKI, John T. Boyd Company, Highlands Ranch, Colorado DREW A. MEYER, Vulcan Materials Company, Birmingham, Alabama CLAYTON NICHOLS, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Idaho Falls SUSAN BRENNAN PATTON, Montana Tech, Butte REGINAL SPILLER, Frontera Resources Corporation, Houston, Texas RONG-YU WAN, Metallurgy Consultant, Highlands Ranch, Colorado Staff ELIZABETH EIDE, Senior Program Officer NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Program Assistant vi
BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES Members GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville M. LEE ALLISON, Arizona Geological Survey, Tucson STEVEN R. BOHLEN, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C. DAVID COWEN, University of South Carolina, Columbia KATHERINE H. FREEMAN, Pennsylvania State University, University Park RHEA L. GRAHAM, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Albuquerque ROBYN HANNIGAN, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro V. RAMA MURTHY, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis RAYMOND A. PRICE, Queen's University, Ontario, Canada BARBARA A ROMANOWICZ, University of California, Berkeley JOAQUIN RUIZ, University of Arizona, Tucson MARK SCHAEFER, Global Environment and Technology Foundation, Arlington RUSSELL STANDS-OVER-BULL, BP American Production Company, Houston BILLIE L. TURNER II, Clark University, Worcester STEPHEN G. WELLS, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada THOMAS J. WILBANKS, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Staff ANTHONY R. DESOUZA, Director ELIZABETH EIDE, Senior Program Officer DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer ANN FRAZIER, Program Officer SAMMANTHA MAGSINO, Program Officer RONALD F. ABLER, Senior Scholar CAETLIN OFIESH, Research Associate KRISTEN DALY, Research Associate JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Assistant AMANDA M. ROBERTS, Senior Program Assistant JARED ENO, Program Assistant NICHOLAS D. ROGERS, Program Assistant vii
Acknowledgments T his report represents the integrated efforts of many individuals. The committee thanks all those who shared their insights and knowledge to bring the document to fruition. We also thank all those who provided information and who participated in our public sessions (see Appendix B). This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse per- spectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsive- ness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: David Carpenter, State University of New York, Albany Subhash Chander, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park James H. Clarke, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee James N. Galloway, University of Virginia, Charlottesville Barbara Filas, Knight Piesold and Company, Denver, Colorado Christopher Hayes, Bjork Lindley Little P.C., Denver, Colorado A. Dennis Lemly, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Blacksburg, Virginia Ann Maest, Buka Environmental, Boulder, Colorado R. James Meiers, Cinergy, Plainfield, Indiana ix
x ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Jeffrey Skousen, West Virginia University, Morgantown Alice D. Stark, New York Department of Health, Albany Mary Stoertz, Ohio University, Athens Kenneth G. Stollenwerk, U.S. Geological Survey, Lakewood, Colorado Stanley Suboleski, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, Washington, D.C. Although the individuals listed above have provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions and rec- ommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by George M. Hornberger, University of Virginia, and Jonathan G. Price, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Uni- versity of Nevada. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were re- sponsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review com- ments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this re- port rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Preface C oal is an abundant source of fossil fuel in the United States and because of its availability and therefore its low cost, coal is used as a major energy source in a world of limited competitive alternatives. Burning coal in electric utility plants produces, in addition to power, residues that contain con- stituents which may be harmful to the environment. What to do with them poses management challenges for the industry and for state and federal environmental regulatory agencies. A major management issue is the lack of reliable informa- tion on the behavior of coal combustion residues when placed in mines. The Committee on Mine Placement of Coal Combustion Wastes, appointed by the National Research Council, addressed this issue. During the deliberation process, the committee provisionally agreed that placing coal combustion resi- dues in coal mines as part of the mine reclamation process is a viable manage- ment option as long as it can be done responsibly. This report describes ap- proaches to addressing that management challenge across a range of conditions. The committee heard from relevant federal and state officials, representa- tives of the coal mining and utility industries, concerned citizens, and various technical and scientific specialists in public meetings. It examined the relevant scientific literature and other pertinent materials. It was helped throughout by the hard-working and able staff of the National Research Council. The committee members thoroughly discussed the report's conclusions and recommendations through several iterations. In the end, the committee met its goal of writing a consensus report, for which it and the National Research Coun- cil bear sole responsibility. The committee thanks all who helped along the way. Perry Hagenstein Chair xi
Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 13 Coal Production and Use in the United States, 15 Management of Coal Combustion Residues, 19 Purpose of the Study, 22 The Committee's Approach, 24 Report Roadmap, 26 2 COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUES 27 Types of Coal Combustion Residues, 27 Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Coal Combustion Residues, 33 Disposal and Use Options for Coal Combustion Residues, 39 Summary, 56 3 BEHAVIOR OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUES IN THE ENVIRONMENT 59 Hydrological Processes Affecting CCR Behavior, 59 Biogeochemical Processes Affecting CCR Behavior, 68 Potential for Contaminant Transport from CCR in Coal Mines, 76 Summary, 78 4 POTENTIAL IMPACTS FROM PLACEMENT OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUES IN COAL MINES 81 Environmental Impacts, 82 Human Health, 95 Summary, 101 xiii
xiv CONTENTS 5 CURRENT REGULATORY FRAMEWORK 105 The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, 105 Other Federal Environmental Laws, 112 EPA's Regulatory Determination of 2000, 120 State Programs, 123 State Regulatory Agencies, 124 Summary, 124 6 CHARACTERIZATION FOR COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUE MANAGEMENT 127 Risk-Based Framework for CCR Management, 127 Site Characterization, 129 CCR Characterization, 143 Integration of CCR and Site Characterization Data, 152 Summary, 152 7 MANAGEMENT OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUES IN RECLAMATION ACTIVITIES 155 Reclamation, 155 Monitoring, 165 Summary, 173 8 SYNTHESIS OF ISSUES FOR PLANNING AND REGULATION OF COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUE MINE PLACEMENT 177 Planning for CCR Management, 177 Overarching Issues and Concerns, 183 Summary, 185 REFERENCES 187 APPENDIXES A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND STAFF 203 B INFORMATION PROVIDED TO THE COMMITTEE 211 C GLOSSARY 217 D ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS 227 E SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON OF RCRA TO SMCRA 229 F REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR ISOLATION 253