Turning toxic coal ash into bridges, buildings

Despite the destruction it caused in a massive spill near a Tennessee power plant in December, coal ash has found many uses that benefit industry and even the environment.

A billion gallons of ash sludge, laced with toxic materials, spilled from a holding pond and fouled 300 acres and two rivers near the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston Fossil Plant on December 22.

Forty homes were affected, roads were ruined, and residents were left wondering whether their water would ever be safe to drink.

There are about 300 storage ponds similar to the one that collapsed. To reduce the need to store coal waste products, the Environmental Protection Agency promotes their beneficial reuse.

” ‘Waste’ is such a bad term,” said Chett Boxley, a chemist at Ceramatec, a research company in Salt Lake City, Utah. “It’s really not waste at all. It’s a material waiting to be made into a great product.”

Article here.

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