Public comment period opens, hearings set on proposed coal ash rules

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The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is inviting public feedback on the state’s proposed coal combustion residuals rules, which provide the regulatory framework for safe disposal, storage and reuse of coal ash waste.

The proposed rules streamline and clarify the state’s regulatory requirements for coal combustion residuals landfills, impoundment closure, dams, and dust control and transportation plans for recycling of residuals. In addition, the proposed rules are more protective of public health and the environment than existing rules for coal ash disposal and storage.

In North Carolina, coal ash is increasingly being removed from power plant impoundments and transported to either landfills engineered to be protective of the environment and human health, or to recycling facilities for reuse in producing products such as cement, concrete block and wall board.

The public is invited to submit comments on the proposed rules Aug. 15 through Oct. 15. As part of the public comment period, DEQ has scheduled four public hearings to gather comments on the rules. The hearings will be held at 6 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Sept. 4: Wayne Community College (Richard Auditorium), 3000 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro
  • Sept. 20: Mitchell Community College Building B (MCB 117 Multipurpose Room), 219 N. Academy Street, Mooresville
  • Sept. 25: Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College (Ferguson Auditorium), 340 Victoria Road, Asheville
  • Sept. 27: Rockingham Community College (Room 100 Auditorium in Advanced Technology Building), 215 Wrenn Memorial Drive Highway 65, Wentworth

At the hearings, DEQ staff will provide a presentation on the draft rules before opening the floor for public feedback. People wishing to speak are asked to register at 5:30 p.m. before the meeting starts at 6 p.m.

Public comments may be submitted by mail to: Division of Waste Management, c/o Ellen Lorscheider, 1646 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1646 or Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources, c/o Andrew Brooks, P.E., State Dam Safety Engineer, 1612 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1612. Public comments may also be submitted by email to [email protected]. Please include “CCR Rules” in the email’s subject line.

DEQ will consider all comments and then present final draft rules to the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) for adoption. If approved by the EMC, the rules will then be presented to the Rules Review Commission, which has the final say on whether to approve the rules.     

Copies of the proposed rules can be found online at: https://deq.nc.gov/documents/15a-ncac-13b-2001-2018-coal-combustion-residuals-management and https://deq.nc.gov/documents/15a-ncac-02k-0224-additional-requirements-dams-impound-coal-combustion-residual.