Fluoride Action Network

Coal Wastes and Fluoride

Source: International Fluoride Information Network | April 26th, 2000
Industry type: Coal Industry

These two messages in from Bob Carton and the very high levels of fluoride that can leach out of coal wastes. The information comes from sources inside the US EPA.



This is another overlooked or covered-up area of fluoride exposure. Fluoride was found as high as 812 mg/l ( 203 times the standard of 4 mg/l) in the water drained from combustion waste slurries. The average concentration was found to be 21.2 mg/l (5 times the standard). the median was below the standard.


—–Original Message—–

From: Ruddy.Dennis@epamail.epa.gov [mailto:Ruddy.Dennis@epamail.epa.gov]

Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2000 5:57 PM

To: robert.carton@det.amedd.army.mil

Subject: fluoride data for coal combustion waste.

As promised, below is the fluoride information. This represents analysis of porewater from utility coal combustion wastes that were disposed in surface impoundments, lagoons, landfills, etc. The analyses were performed on the ‘porewater’ extracted from the wastes by centrifuge. The toxicity characteristic leachate procedure (TCLP) was not used for the analyses.

range, mg/l not detected to 812.

average, mg/l 21.2

median, mg/l 0.58

n 188 samples


BNA News

EPA Decides Not to Regulate Coal Wastes As Hazardous Under Subtitle C of RCRA

By Pamela Najor

The Environmental Protection Agency announced late April 25 that it has determined that coal combustion wastes should not be regulated as hazardous. Instead, the agency said, it will develop national standards to address coal wastes that are currently land disposed or used as fill in mining.

“These wastes are not being classified as hazardous wastes” and therefore will not be subject to Subtitle C regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the agency said in a statement. However, “If the states and industry do not take steps to address these wastes adequately in a reasonable amount of time or if EPA identifies additional risks to public health, EPA will revisit this decision to determine whether a hazardous waste approach is needed,” Michael McCabe, EPA acting deputy administrator, said.

The decision came after a federal district judge refused to give the agency more time to scrutinize “upcoming major scientific analysis in making a more complete determination,” the statement said. (See related article in this section.)

Jim Roewer, executive director of Utility Solid Waste Activities Group for Edison Electric Institute, told BNA this is a “very sound decision” by EPA. Regulating the industrial solid wastes under Subtitle D, which covers nonhazardous waste, is more appropriate, he said.

According to the statement, the agency will still supply some type of national guidance for the states and industry to follow that would “adopt a safer approach to the disposal of coal combustion wastes that are disposed of in landfills, surface impoundments and when used in fill in mining.”