Dry Fly Ash Used for Road Maintenance

Fly ash used for road repair

Piles of fly ash deposited for road repair at Twin Bridges

Landowners at Twin Bridges filed a formal complaint with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in May 2009 after piles of fly ash were used to rebuild the approach to the bridge that was washed out in heavy rains.

The DEQ responded with a letter to the Mayes County Commissioner asking that he discontinue the use of fly ash for any road work not meeting DEQ policy. The DEQ letter reads:

"It is the policy of this agency that coal combustion byproducts, such as fly ash, not be used as road surfacing material. Fly ash cannot be used on a stream bank or anywhere it could be carried into the water of the state."

The DEQ also took water samples upstream, at the bridge and downstream and concluded that "although the sampling did not confirm an immediate impact on the stream, repeated use of fly ash in this manner could adversely affect the stream."

The Spring Creek Coalition found through web research that fly ash is being touted as an environmentally friendly way to dispose of what otherwise could be a big environmental hazard, AS LONG AS it is used as an ingredient in wet concrete and not simply dumped dry on a road. There is at least one case being litigated about the environmental hazard of using fly ash.

On June 21, 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a proposal to regulate coal combustion residuals, including fly ash, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). They have proposed two options and have asked for public comment. Click here to go to the EPA website for more information.

The Spring Creek Coalition will continue to monitor this situation.