Beneficial Use of Coal Ash as a Structural Fill

by William J. Held, Duquesne Light Co, Pittsburgh, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Energy in the 90's


For decades, electric utility companies have and will continue to dispose of their coal ash in various waste disposal sites. In the state of Pennsylvania, the Beneficial Use of Coal Ash Act (ACT 168) was approved by the Governor on December 12, 1986 and went into effect in 1987. This act paved the way for using coal ash as a structural fill material, among other uses, in Pennsylvania. This paper highlights Duquesne Light Company's experiences and the sequence of events and considerations that led to the final placement of 353,000 tons of coal ash as a structural fill for the East Street Valley Expressway. The use of coal ash, as an alternate material, was presented to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDOT) as a Value Engineering proposal by Trumbull Corp., the highway contractor. Numerous questions and concerns by PDOT, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PDER), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Trumbull Corp. had to be addressed and answered prior to final acceptance and approval to use coal ash in a federally funded highway project. This paper provides information that is intended to be useful to engineers, contractors and other electric utilities who are planning high volume usage of coal ash as a structural fill, and to promote coal ash as a natural resource.

Subject Headings: Coal | Mine wastes | Fly ash | Ashes | Recycling | Fills | Highways and roads | Pennsylvania | United States

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