Mother Jones has a good rundown on proposed new regulations for handling coal ash slurries, developed after the dam burst at the Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee, creating an environmental disaster. The thing is, there’s not much hope really for dealing with this material other than trying to store it safely.

There’s a certain amount of hubbub about recycling coal ash–putting it in pavement, concrete mix and such. But there’s just no way to meaningfully recycle coal ash in any sort of quantity, so I think it’s time to throw in the towel and develop sensible means of storing it.

One important aspect of storage is to require that this material be dewatered to the extent that it won’t flow. (It’s generally stored behind dams in a slurry, which is the reason why it flows.) That will at least prevent it from flooding huge areas downstream of impoundments. That’s a practical, relatively inexpensive first step.


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