BALTIMORE, MD (January 4, 2011) Today Maryland Department of the Environment Acting Secretary Robert M. Summers issued the following statement about the Agency’s approval of a Refuse Disposal Permit application to accept coal combustion byproducts at the Millennium Hawkins Point Plant Industrial Landfill in Baltimore City:
Coal combustion byproducts, left over when we burn coal for electricity, must be properly disposed of to protect drinking water, public health, and the environment. Maryland has made the safe disposal of coal combustion byproducts a top priority since the discovery of groundwater contamination at some historic disposal sites. Maryland is aggressively handling the problems of past coal combustion byproducts pollution using the best available science, while at the same time implementing state-of-the-art regulations on new disposal sites and on the beneficial re-use of coal combustion byproducts.
In 2008 MDE enacted strict State regulations for all coal combustion byproducts disposal sites – in advance of federal regulations, making Maryland one of just a handful of States in the country with such regulations. In 2010 MDE also proposed new regulations for “beneficial” re-use for coal ash and adopted new regulations on the transportation of coal combustion byproducts. MDE has testified twice before Congress in support of federal laws to better control coal combustion byproducts. In addition, MDE has filed a lawsuit in federal court to bring Mirant’s Brandywine coal combustion byproduct site into compliance with the new standards, and recently issued a notice of intent to file additional lawsuits in federal court for Mirant’s Westland and Faulkner disposal sites.
This new permit for the Millennium coal combustion byproducts landfill in Hawkins Point requires the operators to use state-of-the-art controls, following the new regulations. This permit requires an upgraded liner and a system to collect leachate from the landfill. Leachate will then be hauled to a permitted treatment facility. As with all modern landfills, the permit also requires a groundwater monitoring system, with regular monitoring, to serve as an early warning system against any potential offsite impacts and requires corrective action if problems occur. The landfill’s design and leachate collection system will prevent any impact to groundwater or surface water in the area, and operations will be conducted to minimize airborne particulate matter.
The Environmental Protection Agency is currently considering enactment of new rules governing disposal of coal combustion byproducts. The Millennium landfill will be required to comply with those regulations to the extent they are found to apply to that facility.
The permit is effective on January 5, 2011, and any parties that object to the permit have until February 11, 2011, to file a petition for judicial review of the permit in a Maryland circuit court.
Read the Millennium Industrial Waste Landfill Notice of Determination, Final Permit, and Letter to Commentors here.