Regulatory Drivers

Since 1993, federal regulations have treated the four major large-volume coal utilization byproducts (CUB's) including fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) byproducts as solid wastes that do not warrant regulation as hazardous wastes under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), as long as these CUB’s were not co-managed with other waste materials.

On May 22, 2000, EPA published a final Regulatory Determination [PDF-320KB] that retained the hazardous waste exemption for coal utilization byproducts. EPA has concluded that fossil fuel combustion wastes do not warrant regulation as hazardous under Subtitle C of RCRA and is retaining the hazardous waste exemption for these wastes.

However, the agency has determined that national non-hazardous waste regulations under RCRA Subtitle D are needed for coal combustion wastes disposed in surface impoundments and landfills and used as minefilling. EPA also concluded beneficial uses of these wastes, other than for minefilling, pose no significant risk and no additional national regulations are needed. This determination affects more than 110 million tons of fossil fuel combustion wastes that are generated each year, virtually all from burning coal.

CUB materials covered under the Regulatory Determination include:

  • Large-volume coal combustion wastes generated at electric utility and independent power producing facilities that are co-managed together with certain other coal combustion wastes.
  • Coal combustion wastes generated by non-utilities.
  • Coal combustion wastes generated at facilities with fluidized bed combustion technology.
  • Petroleum coke combustion wastes.
  • Wastes from the combustion of mixtures of coal and other fuels (i.e., co-burning).

The tentative agenda for these regulations are:

  • Part I
    Electric utilities surface impoundments
    Draft rule: 12/2001 Final Rule: 12/2002
  • Part II
    Non-electric utilities surface impoundments and minefilling
    Draft rule: 3/2003 Final Rule: 6/2004

NETL is actively involved in supplying data to assist EPA with their decisions regarding CUB used for mine placement. NETL attended a meeting that was hosted by the Interstate Mining Compact Commission consisting of various states presenting the regulations that pertain to CUB and mining in their state. Information from this meeting, as well as other recent developments, can be found here.

The State Regulations database allows you to see how each state regulates the disposal and utilization of CUB's.

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