January 14, 2022 - On Tuesday of this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took action, expanding and strengthening the regulation for coal ash and groundwater management of regulatory mandated surface impoundments and landfills, the first such major announcement by the Biden Administration as it relates to Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs). In response to this week’s announcement, Charah® Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of mission-critical environmental services and byproduct sales to the power generation industry, stands ready to assist utility partners in meeting this and all EPA enforced regulations for coal ash and groundwater management of regulatory mandated surface impoundments and landfills. The plans announced Tuesday, January 11, 2022 "re-state EPA’s consistently held position that surface impoundments or landfills cannot be closed with coal ash in contact with groundwater'' and provide for enforcement mechanisms for the regulation.
This week’s announcement by the EPA marks the first time the agency will enforce the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From Electric Utilities; Final Rule (CCR Rule) for coal ash and groundwater management from coal-fired power plants, enacted in April 2015. While the CCR Rule allowed coal ash to continue to be regulated as a nonhazardous waste, the rule established new requirements for the remediation and closure of existing coal ash ponds as well as restrictions on the location of new ash ponds. The rule provided remediation and closure criteria for leaking ash ponds, criteria for the location of new ash ponds, and water regulations on power plant discharges, resulting in approximately 1,000 regulatory mandated surface impoundments that needed to be remediated or closed. A previous revision to the 2015 rule expedited the deadline for unlined or failing CCR units to stop receiving coal ash and initiate closure, from October 2020 to August 31, 2020. The EPA stated that its actions on January 11, 2021, advances its commitment to protect groundwater from coal ash contamination. According to the EPA this week, there are approximately 500 unlined coal ash ponds in the United States, including some freshwater sources near where power plants are located. In addition, the EPA announced proposed decisions on requests for extensions to the current deadline for initiating closure of unlined CCR surface impoundments and accelerating plans to close coal ash ponds at plants in four states. As a leader in providing coal ash pond remediation and compliance services, byproduct sales, fossil services and Environmental Risk Transfer (ERT) services with over thirty years of unmatched domain experience, Charah Solutions is uniquely situated to assist utility partners in meeting these ever-increasing EPA and state-level regulations.
According to Scott Sewell, Charah Solutions President and CEO, “The new environmental and economic reality in the U.S. power generation industry is that coal-fired power generation facilities will continue to remediate and close coal ash ponds and landfills as they respond to an increasing need to comply with the growing impact of local, state and federal regulatory and legislative rulings. Charah Solutions is well positioned to assist this growing need across the industry with our single-source solution that provides ash pond and landfill remediation and compliance, environmentally friendly ash recycling and byproduct sales to meet the growing demand for fly ash in concrete, and a growing market for our ERT services. We have established long-term relationships with the largest power companies in the U.S. and decades of proven expertise to provide complex solutions for large ash pond closure projects and perform them safely, all while being a good neighbor to the local community and a responsible environmental steward. We take pride in our ability to customize each coal ash impoundment project to suit the specific needs of the utility and ensure compliance with all EPA mandated regulations and deadlines.”
Today Charah Solutions serves more than 40 plants for the top utilities and independent power generators in more than 20 states across the country. Since the CCR Rule went into effect, the Company has successfully cleaned and closed 12 ash ponds and has reclaimed one mine.
Charah Solutions’ remediation and compliance services offerings include environmental management of landfills for coal-fired power generation facilities and of new and existing ash ponds. These services cover all aspects of new and existing active pond management, including closure by removal, cap-in-place, and design and construction of new ponds. Additional services include landfill development, construction, and management. The Company’s remediation and compliance services teams can also provide site evaluation and characterization, preliminary design and cost estimates with life-cycle analysis, hydrogeological assessments, groundwater and containment modeling, permit application and processing for expansions and greenfield sites, design engineering, construction of landfills and cap and cover systems, conversion of impoundments to landfill sites, quality assurance and quality control and documentation, engineered fills (off-site), and other related services.
In addition, Charah Solutions’ byproduct sales include recycling recurring and contracted volumes of coal-fired power generation byproducts, such as bottom ash, fly ash, and gypsum byproducts. These byproducts can be used for various industrial purposes, including the recycling and beneficial use of fly ash in the production of green concrete as a replacement for Portland cement. To also meet growing infrastructure demand, the Company’s innovative industry-leading EnviroSource™ beneficiation technology improves fly ash quality so that significantly more tons of fly ash can be recycled and marketed for reuse. This technology significantly reduces the environmental carbon footprint created by Portland cement and provides a superior product at lower costs for ready mix concrete producers. Fly ash and other byproducts are delivered through the Company’s MultiSource® materials network, a unique distribution system of nearly 40 nationwide locations with international sourcing and distribution, serving ready mix concrete producers and other materials customers.
Finally, Charah Solutions’ proven ERT services represent an innovative solution designed to meet the evolving and increasingly complex needs of utility customers to retire and decommission older or underutilized assets. The Company provides turnkey solutions for these large-scale, complex environmental projects, including the acquisition of the property, shutdown, decommissioning, and demolishing of the coal-fired power plant, remediation of the onsite ash ponds and landfills, and restoration of the land.
As a sustainability leader in utility services for over 30 years, Charah Solutions is dedicated to preserving our natural resources in an environmentally conscious manner. Sustainability is a Charah Solutions core value, and its business is focused on developing innovative solutions to complex environmental issues for the betterment of the planet, the communities in which it operates and its customers. In 2020 Charah Solutions beneficiated and recycled 2.58 million tons of CCRs, saving more than 2.24 million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
About Charah Solutions, Inc.
With 30 years of experience, Charah Solutions, Inc. is a leading provider of environmental services and byproduct sales to the power generation industry. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Charah Solutions assists utilities and independent power producers with all aspects to sustainably manage and recycle ash byproducts generated from the combustion of coal in the production of electricity. The Company also designs and implements solutions for ash pond management and closure, landfill construction, fly ash sales, and structural fill projects. Charah Solutions is the partner of choice for solving customers’ most complex environmental challenges, and as an industry leader in quality, safety, and compliance, the Company is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions for a cleaner energy future. For more information, please visit https://charah.com/ or download our 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report at https://charah.com/
MultiSource is a trademark of Charah, LLC. in the United States.