Amy Joi O’Donoghue – Deseret News
It is the nation’s second-largest industrial waste stream and more than 2.3 million tons of it are generated each year in Utah, left to operators to truck and bury without disposal oversight by government.
In a Tennessee disaster six years ago, more than a billion tons of coal ash were released in a site failure, despoiling two rivers and releasing material five times that of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is slated to release regulations Friday that for the first time will regulate the disposal of coal ash.
It is an action being awaited anxiously by environmentalists and industry, and it’s being watched carefully by states.
Industry is fearful of the costs that will come with oversight, environmental groups worry the rules will be too relaxed, and states are looking for some guidance.
“There are things that should have a standard for management,” said Scott Anderson, director of the Utah Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste. “Even if there has not been problems, it is probably wise and prudent to do so.”
Coal ash is the byproduct leftover from the burning coal for electricity or industrial reasons. (…)