National Academies Press: OpenBook

Managing Coal Combustion Residues in Mines (2006)

Chapter: F Regulatory Requirements for Isolation

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Suggested Citation:"F Regulatory Requirements for Isolation." National Research Council. 2006. Managing Coal Combustion Residues in Mines. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11592.
Page 253
Suggested Citation:"F Regulatory Requirements for Isolation." National Research Council. 2006. Managing Coal Combustion Residues in Mines. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11592.
Page 254
Suggested Citation:"F Regulatory Requirements for Isolation." National Research Council. 2006. Managing Coal Combustion Residues in Mines. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11592.
Page 255
Suggested Citation:"F Regulatory Requirements for Isolation." National Research Council. 2006. Managing Coal Combustion Residues in Mines. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11592.
Page 256

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F Regulatory Requirements for Isolation The following outlines the various requirements for isolation of coal com- bustion residues (CCRs) both within the Surface Mining Control and Reclama- tion Act (SMCRA) and at the state level, as reported in EPA (2002c). Throughout this discussion it should be borne in mind that States vary in their interpretation of whether CCRs are considered coal or non-coal wastes. RESTRICTIONS SMCRA prescribes that non-coal wastes may not be placed in (a) a refuse pile, (b) an impounding structure, or (c) within 8 ft of a coal outcrop or coal storage area. Besides, unless specially exempted, no coal mining operations can be conducted in (a) any of the National protected areas (such as parks, scenic rivers, wildlife refuges, and the like), (b) federal lands within a national forest, (c) where the mining would adversely affect parks or historic places, (d) within 100 ft of a public road or cemetery, and (e) within 300 ft of any occupied space (house, park, building). Disposal In the following states there are no changes to the above: AL, AZ, AR, MD, MT, NM, WV, and WY. In the following states the SMCRA rules apply with additions: 253

254 MANAGING COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUES IN MINES AK CCRs cannot be placed (a) on slopes steeper than 10% grade, (b) un- stable soils, (c) within floodplains, and (d) within 10 ft of the highest aquifer level. CO Requirements are determined on case-by-case basis. Disposal in flood- plain has been refused. In coal mines these need to be isolated from the hydrologic regime. IL The site should be on the mine site or close to it. IN Proximity to water supplies and critical features are considerations in granting a permit. No disposal is allowed below the 100-year flood level. KS The solid waste disposal permit may limit placement. KY Placement is allowed (a) in a pit from which coal has been mined (al- though the rule may be relaxed if no adverse affects occur), (b) where contact with water is minimized, and (c) if at least 4 ft above high water table. CCRs cannot be placed within 4 ft of (a) a final highwall, (b) an exposed coal seam, or (c) a coal outcrop. If permitted for beneficial use it must be 100 ft from a stream and 300 ft from drinkable water wells, wetlands, or floodplains. MO CCRs must be above the high groundwater table. Variance may be granted. ND CCRs cannot be placed within: (a) an area where it may affect human health or the environment, (b) an aquifer or wellhead protection area, (c) 1,000 ft downgradient of a potable water well (although a waiver is possible), (d) 100-year floodplain, (e) differential settlement may affect features, (f) unstable slopes, (g) woody draws, (h) mine highwalls, (i) endangered or threatened species habitats, (j) 200 ft horizontally from the high-water level or wetland (could be waived), and (k) the water table. OH Placement is forbidden: (a) near water wells, (b) above an aquifer, (c) in sand or gravel pits, (d) in limestone or sandstone quarries, (e) in subsid- ence-prone areas, (f) within 1,000 ft of potable water wells or springs (could be relaxed), or (g) within less than 5 ft of the uppermost aquifer (from the bottom of the liner).

APPENDIX F 255 PA Does not have any restrictions on disposal since CCRs placement is considered a beneficial use (discussed below). TN CCRs may not be disposed in (a) wetlands, (b) sink holes, (c) caves, (d) 100-year floodplain, (e) endangered or threatened species habitat, and (f) within 3 ft of the high-water level of the uppermost aquifer. TX Limitations exist for: (a) fault areas (within 200 ft), (b) floodplains, (c) wetlands, (d) seismic zones, (e) unstable areas, and (f) high-water table (must be above). VA Placement of CCRs cannot occur: (a) in base flood areas (with excep- tions); (b) within 2 ft of the high water table; (c) less than 100 ft from a perennial stream, water well, or sinkhole; (d) within 25 ft of an outcrop or property boundary; (e) in wetlands (permit may relax this); (f) in a dump (active or inactive), unpermitted landfill, lagoon, or similar feature. WA CCRs may not be placed on unstable hill slopes. Beneficial Use Most states make no distinction between CCR disposal and beneficial use; hence they do not make allowance for the same. These states include: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, KS, KY, MD, MO, MT, NM, TN, VA, WA, WV, and WY. In some states the SMCRA regulations apply: IL, IN, and TX. A few states consider CCRs as a beneficial use, and have special require- ments: ND No specific restrictions exist, but the permit application should include information on: (a) nearby communities, (b) housing, (c) parks, (d) na- ture areas, and (e) waterways. OH In addition to SMCRA, CCRs may not be placed within: (a) 100 ft of streams; variance is possible, but the distance may be augmented for high-value streams, (b) 100 ft of high-quality wetlands (distance may be increased), (c) 500 ft upgradient of a surface potable water source, (d) 300 ft upgradient of a groundwater source, (e) 300 ft of a inhabited house, unless a waiver from the owner is obtained, or (f) 8 ft of the groundwater table in the area, unless special permission is obtained.

256 MANAGING COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUES IN MINES PA The SMCRA regulations apply. Placement is permitted in (a) mine from which coal was mined, (b) abandoned coal mine within the permit area, (c) reclamation work approved by the State, and (d) coal refuse areas. The CCR must be 8 ft above the water table-- except for demonstration projects.

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Burning coal in electric utility plants produces, in addition to power, residues that contain constituents which may be harmful to the environment. The management of large volumes of coal combustion residues (CCRs) is a challenge for utilities, because they must either place the CCRs in landfills, surface impoundments, or mines, or find alternative uses for the material. This study focuses on the placement of CCRs in active and abandoned coal mines. The committee believes that placement of CCRs in mines as part of the reclamation process may be a viable option for the disposal of this material as long as the placement is properly planned and carried out in a manner that avoids significant adverse environmental and health impacts. This report discusses a variety of steps that are involved in planning and managing the use of CCRs as minefills, including an integrated process of CCR characterization and site characterization, management and engineering design of placement activities, and design and implementation of monitoring to reduce the risk of contamination moving from the mine site to the ambient environment. Enforceable federal standards are needed for the disposal of CCRs in minefills to ensure that states have adequate, explicit authority and that they implement minimum safeguards.

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