MDE has proposed regulations to control the disposal of coal combustion byproducts (CCBs) and the use of CCBs in mine reclamation. No federal program exists to regulate the management of these materials. MDE is proceeding in the absence of federal requirements to protect public health and the environment.
CCBs include fly ash, bottom ash, scrubber sludge and other byproducts generated by coal combustion.
Coal combustion facilities in Maryland produce about 2 million tons of coal ash annually. This rate of generation is expected to continue, according to MDE. Scrubber sludge to be generated by flue gas desulphurization pollution control technology is expected to be produced at a rate of about 2.5 million tons annually.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been working on regulations to control the management of coal combustion byproducts since 2000.
Energy companies that burn coal to generate electricity generate CCBs. Also, one major manufacturer in Maryland operates its own power plant using coal to generate electricity for its own needs.