Coal Combustion Residual Impoundment and Landfill Solutions

Coal Combustion Coal Stock Pile

Coal Combustion Coal Stock Pile

A typical concern regarding coal combustion residual impoundments and landfills involves the risk of catastrophic failure, groundwater contamination, and the public’s awareness of the effects of coal combustion residuals on their local environment. All coal naturally contains inorganic matter from the rocks and minerals in the coal seam where it was mined. The combustion of coal makes steam that turns turbines to generate electricity. When this coal is burned, the inorganic matter in the coal becomes coal ash.

For decades, power companies have stored coal ash in coal combustion residual impoundments and landfills. Coal ash is the material that’s left after coal is burned to generate electricity. According to many studies, coal fly ash is composed of:

  • 90 percent common elements, such as silicon, iron and calcium
  • 1 percent contains trace elements, such as arsenic, selenium or mercury

There are two types of coal ash produced after burning coal:

  • Fly ash is very fine, similar to the consistency of baby powder. About 80 percent of the ash generated at coal plants is fly ash
  • Bottom ash is a coarser material collected in coal-fired boilers and represents about 20 percent of the ash produced
Coal Combustion Residual from Power Plant

Coal Combustion Residual from Power Plant

Watershed Geo ClosureTurf® System Solutions

With slope erosion and vegetative maintenance an ongoing battle, and compliance issues continuously looming over groundwater monitoring, choosing an effective cover solution that has been engineered to eliminate the most common problems associated with landfill management is essential. ClosureTurf is designed to address and solve soil erosion, slope instability, gas emissions, and high installation and maintenance costs. Discover the solution that makes your job much easier, keeps you compliant, and makes you look good in the process.

ClosureTurf LogoClosureTurf makes fast, cost-efficient erosion control applications simple – it’s virtually install and that’s all. ClosureTurf is a patented three-component system comprised of a structured geomembrane, an engineered turf, and a specialized sand infill. The ClosureTurf system allows energy companies to create a comprehensive Land Recovery Program (LRP), which is a multi-prong environmental approach to addressing renewable energy mandates, EPA regulations, and land conservation/ecological habitat protection.

A ClosureTurf system is almost maintenance-free and provides many advantages over a traditional Subtitle D vegetative landfill cover:

  • Increases Safety: ClosureTurf™ can be installed faster than traditional soil covers using significantly lighter and fewer pieces of equipment. In addition, the system eliminates roughly 200 trucks, per acre, from local roadways that would otherwise be used to transport the soil. This reduction in size, number and duration of equipment means an overall increase in safety on both the project site itself, as well as the surrounding community
  • Sustainability: ClosureTurf™ reduces the carbon footprint of a closure by approximately 80 percent compared to other traditional soil/vegetative covers. ClosureTurf™ also provides an ideal substrate for photovoltaic solar panel arrays, allowing what is typically written off as “dead space” to be utilized as a renewable energy site
  • Water Quality: ClosureTurf™ is a Best Management Practice (BMP) for meeting Clean Water Act requirements. Its engineered synthetic turf and sand infill effectively filters surface water, providing clean runoff with very low turbidity. Furthermore, the system reduces sediment loading to surrounding channels and sedimentation/detention basins both on and offsite. ClosureTurf™ has a positive impact on overall stormwater quality, allowing sites to improve their effluent levels and meet or exceed regulatory limits
  • Geotechnical Factors of Safety: ClosureTurf™ provides further benefits through increased geotechnical safety factors on the cover system. On side slopes, it provides increased protection from sloughing and veneer failures. On flat surfaces (e.g., top decks), these safety factors are realized through a major reduction in the soil layer and subsequent loading of the underlying CCR materials
  • Water Conservation: A ClosureTurf™ landfill capping system inhibits dust-creation and eliminates the need for costly and wasteful watering practices that are intended to reduce air particulate pollution and dust transmission
  • Land Conservation: ClosureTurf™ optimizes land conservation through the elimination of excavation borrow pits on undisturbed, native land, as well as providing acreage for renewable energy sites (e.g., solar panel arrays) that might otherwise need to be constructed in undeveloped areas

With several square miles of installed product, Watershed Geo designs and engineers products that are superior in performance when compared to other landfill cover solutions, not only in the laboratory but also in real life applications where it counts.

VersaCap Coal Combustion Landfill Cover

VersaCap™ Coal Combustion Landfill Cover

Another such advanced product is VersaCap, which is an intermediate landfill cover system that, unlike other traditional exposed geomembrane covers, does not have to be replaced in the future. Its strong polyethylene (PE) geomembrane backing assists in gas collection early in the landfill cycle and helps to reduce leachate production. A VersaCap installation means a considerable decrease in maintenance expenses and improved stormwater runoff groundwater monitoring results.

Both of Watershed Geo’s systems boast proven track records for outperforming other traditional vegetative closure applications in relation to installation, maintenance and environmental compliance. For further details about our ClosureTurf and VersaCap installations, please contact us today!