Clean Tech can chase coal ash runoff

Just when you thought the future was in carbon capture and sequestration (and that’s true), comes more information from the “new EPA” under Administrator Lisa Jackson and President Barack Obama.

The agency, which has already begun the process of regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, is now going after runoff.

It seems the same scrubber technology that’s helping clean up power plant emissions creates toxic residue that’s stored in ponds or flushed to waterways. The target of concern is selenium, which can accumulate in fish tissue like mercury.

Sampling done so far has found selenium levels that meet state discharge criteria, but far exceed federal critieria for selenium levels in freshwater. Elevated levels of selenium can damage fish, along with people who gulp them up, The Washington Post reports.

A public comment period on new criteria for selenium in runoff is expected before the end of the year.

If you haven’t noticed by now, here comes another Clean Tech opportunity. Perhaps the same companies that have developed this technology can develop ways to safely handle the coal ash or sludge left behind. The current system of selenium handling seems to be inadequate, according to the Environmental Integrity Project.

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