MDE to regulate coal ash
The Maryland Department of the Environment has created new rules for the disposal of ash left behind when coal is burned as fuel.
The new regulations require disposal sites to meet the same standards as required for industrial landfills, which include liners, runoff collection, groundwater monitors and routine analysis.
The sites also must comply with a county's solid-waste management plan.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working on its own regulations since 2000.
"We decided we wanted to move ahead with Maryland requirements on the books," MDE spokeswoman Dawn Stoltzfus said.
If not managed properly, coal ash can make its way into the air or groundwater. The ash contains selenium, sulfates and other pollutants.
The coal ash can be used in mine reclamation efforts. Stoltzfus said regulations for such "beneficial uses" could come next year.
Maryland has 29 sites where coal ash is disposed, with 20 in Allegany and Garrett counties. Montgomery and Prince George's counties have one site each.
Kevin Thornton, a spokesman for Constellation Energy in Baltimore, said his company was supportive of the proposal, but hadn't reviewed or evaluated the language.