--- Coal Combustion Residuals --- On 19 December 2014, the EPA Administrator sighed the Final Coal Ash Combustion Residuals (CCR) law. The new law may impact companies and facilities that generate, store, or receive coal combustion residuals. The final law goes into affect on 19 October 2015. Read the final rule here.

In the preamble to the final rule making, the EPA indicated that they have no federal enforcement power written into the law. They have passed the responsibility and authority for enforcement down to the State and local governments. If a facility is currently handling this material in accordance with existing State laws they are not subjected to any new regulatory enforcement relative to coal ash until the State promulgates new laws. However, as indicated in the new law, a facility may be subjected to legal action brought on by private citizens. For example, if the Commonwealth of Virginia has not passed new laws, a facility can continue to operate with no enforcement threat by Federal or State regulators but they would still be subjected to lawsuits by private citizens and community groups if they did not meet the specific requirements of the new law.

Utility companies that are self-performing landfilling or surface impoundment operations will be impacted the most by the new requirements which include requirements for the location, design, groundwater monitoring, and final caping of new impoundments and CCR landfills. In addition, the new law adds requirements to existing facilities.

CCR cannot be used in waste-to-energy plants because it has no BTU value so, it must be landfilled or used in some beneficial way. With the increased scrutiny, I believe the beneficial use of coal ash, while being emphasized by power generators and State governments, may be increasingly limited and potentially more scrutinized in the future. Environmental lobbyist, for example, wanted coal ash treated as a Hazardous Waste thereby allowing disposal only at RCRA Subtitle C facilities. The new law is a compromise by EPA between existing practices and Subtitle C requirements.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1734 ("Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015") on 22 July 2015 in an effort to relieve some issues in the new rulemaking including encouraging recovery and beneficial use of CCR. The Bill does however add a permitting requirement for CCR facilities. H.R. 1734 is available here. The House Bill has been sent to the Senate.

Crestline has helped our clients understand the benefits and risks in using CCR as an engineering material in specific applications.

Warren Niederhut, PhD(ABD), P.E., CIH, President, Crestline Engineering Group, PLLC

--Crestline Temporarily Suspends Operation of its Material Testing Laboratory --Crestline has suspended operation of our material testing lab while we scout a new location. We apologize for any inconvenience. We hope that our new location will allow for better service to our clients.

--OSHA Issues Temporary Enforcement Policy forConfined Spaces in Construction-- OSHA isssued its final rule for Confined Spaces in Construction on 4 May 2015. On 9 July 2015 OSHA announced a 60-dy temporary enforcement policy of the new standard which becomes effective 3 August 2015. OSHA is postponing full enforcement of the new standard until 2 October 2015 to allow for additional time to meet the training requirements and purchase the equipment neccessary to comply with the new standard. During the temporary enforcement period, OSHA will not issue citations to employers who are making a good faith effort to comply with the new standard. More information on the new standard can be found here.

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