Coal Combustion Residual Rules

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality is inviting public feedback on rules drafted by the state agency to better protect public health and the environment when coal ash wastes are disposed of and recycled. DEQ has scheduled three meetings in February to gather public comments on the draft state rules.

Public Meetings

February 12, 2018, 6:00 pm
Person County Office Building Auditorium
304 South Morgan St., Roxboro

February 20, 2018, 6:00 pm
Myers Center Meeting Room at Gaston College
201 Hwy. 321 South, Dallas

February 22, 2018, 6:00 pm
U-170 Building at Cape Fear Community College
411 North Front St., Wilmington

At the February meetings, staff from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality will provide a presentation about the rules. State officials will then open the floor to anyone wishing to provide feedback on the rules and will record those comments. People wishing to speak are asked to register between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. If any time remains after the public comment session concludes, DEQ staff will be available to answer questions.


People can also comment in writing at any time during this informal comment period through March 22. Public comments may be sent by email to Please include “CCR Rules” in the subject line. DEQ plans to present a final draft to the full North Carolina Environmental Management Commission in May before a 60-day formal public comment period starts this summer. DEQ will consider those comments and then present final draft rules to the full EMC for adoption. If the rules are approved by the EMC, they will then be presented to the Rules Review Commission, which has the final say on whether to approve the rules.

Draft Rules

The following are DRAFT proposed coal combustion residual rules from the Division of Energy, Minerals, and Land Resources (DEMLR) and the Division of Waste Management (DWM) for comment:

Overview of Coal Combustion Residuals Rule Development

Coal ash, a waste product generated when coal is converted into electricity, is typically stored in impoundments or sent to landfills at coal-fired power plants. The draft rules incorporate specific requirements from a set of federal rules enacted by the EPA in 2015 that outline how coal ash landfills are to be designed, constructed, and operated. The 90-plus pages of draft rules are intended to be more protective of public health and the environment than existing rules for coal ash disposal and storage.

Existing rules require the operators to build coal ash landfills with protective lining to prevent impacts to groundwater as well as systems for collecting wastewater and regular environmental monitoring. The new rules would add detailed criteria for how the landfills are to be constructed, restrict what sites are suitable for coal ash landfills and widen the buffers between the landfill and adjoining properties, streams, and rivers. The draft rules require operators to inspect landfills weekly and post the findings from those inspections on a publicly-accessible website.