Company needs last permit for Alaska coal landfill

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A Fairbanks company responsible for hauling ash from a coal-fired power plant at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has proposed a new landfill exclusively for coal ash.

The company, Alaska Industrial, has asked the Department of Environmental Conservation for permission to go forward with the landfill, the last permit need for the project, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/WAUxKV ).

Alaska Industrial owner Jeff Day says the landfill will be regularly tested for pollution, and safeguards including a liner on the bottom will keep ash in the landfill.

The landfill would cover 28.3 acres of a 40-acre site, with the hope that it would store 30 years’ worth of ash. If approved, it would go into operation this year.

There are trees on the property in the buffer zone between the proposed landfill and the property lines.

Alaska Industrial hauls two truckloads of ash from the university power plant each day.

Alaska has not had regulations on the disposal of coal ash, which has been used as fill material in most cases. Day said that proposed rules by the Environmental Protection Agency will either require that coal ash be disposed of in a lined landfill, such as this one, or that it be treated as hazardous waste.

He said that if it is deemed hazardous waste, Alaska’s coal plants would be in trouble as there are no places in Alaska to dispose of hazardous waste. Day said he hopes the rules call for disposal in a lined landfill.

The ash would be placed in the landfill and covered with dirt. Different cells are planned and eventually there would be a mound about 20 feet high on the property.

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