By Claude Goguen, P.E., LEED AP
NPCA Director of Technical Services
Fly ash is a pozzolan and is by far the most widely used supplementary cementitious material in the manufactured concrete products industry because of its low cost, wide availability and concrete property-enhancing characteristics. It is also considered a sustainable practice to use fly ash. The U.S. Green Building Council recognizes fly ash as a pre-consumer recycled material – a beneficial strategy for CO2 reduction.
Under both options, CCRs diverted for beneficial use (such as fly ash for use in concrete) is encouraged by EPA and exempt from new regulations. The EPA has clearly stated that it wants to choose one of the two options and does not want the status quo, which EPA officials believe will add to health risks. The EPA continues to strongly support the safe and protective beneficial use of CCRs and has expressed concern about unnecessarily negatively impacting the legitimate beneficial use of fly ash.
From the EPA proposed ruling:
Users and distributors of CCRs have commented that any regulation of CCRs under RCRA subtitle C will impose a crippling stigma on their beneficial use, and eliminate or significantly curtail these uses, even if EPA were to regulate only CCRs destined for disposal, without modifying the regulatory status of beneficial reuse. On the other hand, other parties have commented that increasing the cost of disposal of CCRs through regulation under subtitle C will actually increase their usage in nonregulated beneficial uses, simply as a result of the economics of supply and demand. States, at the same time, have commented that, by operation of state law, the beneficial use of CCRs would be prohibited under the states’ beneficial use programs, if EPA designated CCRs as hazardous waste when disposed of in landfills or surface impoundments.
At the time of the May 2000 Regulatory Determination, commenters had raised this similar concern, and without agreeing that regulation under RCRA subtitle C would necessarily affect the beneficial reuse of this material, EPA nevertheless strongly expressed concern that beneficial use not be adversely affected.
The EPA is interested in additional information supporting the claims that this ‘‘stigma’’ will drive people away from the use of valuable products, or that states will prohibit the reuse of CCRs under their beneficial use programs if EPA regulates any aspect of CCR management under Subtitle C.
Specifically, the Agency requests that commenters provide analyses and other data and information that demonstrate this to be the case.
In addition, for those commenters who suggest that regulating CCRs under subtitle C of RCRA would raise liability issues, EPA requests that commenters describe the types of liability and the basis, data and information on which these claims are based.
EPA would also be interested in suggestions on methods by which the EPA could reduce any stigmatic impact that might indirectly arise as a result of regulation of CCRs destined for disposal as a ‘‘special’’ waste under RCRA Subtitle C.