Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement under its Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) program with an electric utility provider that operates a power station in Pueblo, Colorado. The settlement commits the utility to address groundwater contamination issues and to ensure the proper closure of CCR surface impoundments under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). It also includes a civil penalty of over $900,000.
CCR, commonly referred to as coal ash, is created when coal is burned by power plants to produce electricity. It is one of the largest types of industrial waste generated in the United States. Coal ash by-products may include fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, flue gas desulfurization materials and other substances. Potentially hazardous elements frequently found in coal ash include arsenic, boron, lead, cadmium, chromium, lithium, mercury, molybdenum, thallium and other substances.
The Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities final rule was published in the Federal Register (FR) back in 2015. It delivered national regulations to provide a comprehensive set of requirements for the safe disposal of coal combustion residuals from coal-fired power plants. Nationwide, there are hundreds of coal ash landfills and retention ponds which could cause exposure risks to workers, communities and the environment if not properly built, maintained and monitored.
“Contact with coal ash can cause skin irritation and respiratory irritation,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and some of the compounds found in coal ash can cause cancer after continued long-term ingestion or inhalation according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. To safeguard workers, the public and the environment, while helping utilities comply with health, safety and environmental regulations, EMSL Analytical offers industrial hygiene and environmental testing for coal ash, heavy metals, silica and other pollutants from air, soil and water samples.”
EMSL Analytical sponsored an educational video about coal ash and potential exposure risks several years ago that that can still be seen at: https://youtu.be/5Rzhz6UnhmY
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC's, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products, and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.
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