The main issue with coal ash across the country is proper storage. With decades of improper storage and a limited regulatory timeline to correct, Utilities are left trying to figure out how to properly store millions of tons of coal ash to allow for future beneficiation.
Good news! The tools have already been developed: safeBERM® and safeSTORAGE® and doesn’t take a great paradigm shift to figure it out.
While traditional storage methods lend, somewhat, to solving this dilemma, they often come up short. safeBERM® and safeSTORAGE® provides a far safer, better, and cheaper way in which to properly create excavated ash storage.
Imagine a community facing the dual crisis of severely dwindling solid waste disposal capacity at the same time its electric utility has been ordered by regulators to excavate and move a hazardous legacy coal ash pond to a lined landfill.
Unfortunately, this isn’t fantasy. Nashville, Tennessee, is one such example of a community wrestling with these issues today. The two problems may seem unrelated, but with EnCAP-IT’s technology you can “link” the issues and make them part of each other’s solution. This only happens if you get out of your comfort zone and look at the big picture and think creatively.
On the solid waste side, Tennessee’s largest landfill, Middle Point, which serves Nashville and many other localities, will run out of capacity in six to seven years based on current daily volume, according to its owner. Outside observers believe any number of unforeseen events could increase volumes and force closure in as few as four years.
One solution proposed for when the landfill closes is to truck the waste to other landfills in Kentucky and Tennessee, incurring the expense of long-distance hauling.
As for the coal ash side, about 14 million cubic yards of it sit in an unlined pond at Gallatin, with potential to leach arsenic, mercury, and lead into the Cumberland River. A federal judge has ordered the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to excavate the coal ash and move it to a lined landfill.
One innovative solution to help alleviate both problems is to move some of the coal ash to Middle Point for use as fill in a safeBERM® around the landfill. This would extend the landfill’s life by years and render the coal ash completely inert and harmless.
This is only one example of Utility and Communities coming together forming a Public Private Partnership, for example and solving each other’s environmental issues.
Imagine a Utility is worried about hurricanes and flooding and how they would protect their CCR landfill is against these events if they were to expand it with a large amount of excavated coal ash.
One innovative solution is to utilize build safeSTORAGE® construction methodology which provides bidirectional hydrostatic barrier properties to safeguard the surrounding environment against flooding and hurricanes.
In a component-based system (safeSTORAGE®) it is possible to create an enhanced inventory system for future reclamation. The records created by sampling and grid placement strategies could be very helpful in future beneficiation sales.
safeBERM® and safeSTORAGE® technologies are examples of incremental innovation. These methodologies are leading-edge, but based on a solid foundation of simple, tried-and-true engineering principles.