March 31st, 2015
The “heated” attention being paid to Coal Ash in the Carolinas (and other, particularly southern, states where coal-fired power plants are still prevalent) has also brought renewed interest in the beneficial reuse of coal ash.
Coal ash has some tremendously useful properties that make it ideal for use in concrete products, and such use does not pose any threat of releasing toxic heavy metals, unlikely simply storing or burying the ash. However, only about 45% of all coal ash is reused, the rest going into a myriad of holding “ponds” and other storage sites.
North Carolina has formed a committee to study additional ways to beneficially reuse coal ash. (See story linked above.) The increased scrutiny, fines, and lawsuits related to coal ash storage, as well as advances in technology, are making such reuse more economically feasible.