Co-ops recycle ash, reduce disposal

Reclaimed mine area of Thomas Hill Energy Center is productive, producing hay harvested by nearby farmers. Photos shows land and large, round bales of hay
Acres and acres of rolling pasture are dotted with large, round bales of hay -- a testament to the productivity of the land and Associated Electric's commitment to restore land once mined to its original or better condition.

Cement substitute, aggregate for roof shingles, land reclamation, winter road surface applications, making a super strong green brick ... These are all beneficial uses for the ash that comes from making electricity. Recycling ash also reduces disposal in landfills. Associated Electric Cooperative manages coal ash byproducts at its plant by using a combination of beneficial use mine reclamation, recycling and reselling, and long-term storage using permitted lined ash ponds and utility waste landfills.

Associated Electric routinely inspects its facilities and has received high marks from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Co-ops advocate for keeping ash recyclable

Coal ash is a nonhazardous material that can be recycled for beneficial uses. Associated Electric has sold bottom ash, a heavier material from the bottom of cyclones, from both Thomas Hill and New Madrid power plants since 1994 for use as an aggregate in roof shingles.

Since 1998, it has sold fly ash from Thomas Hill Unit 3, a pulverized unit that produces ash lower in carbon, for use in making concrete. It’s also partnered with a University of Missouri scientist to create a super-strong “green” brick now licensed for manufacturing. Revenue from ash helps keep electricity affordable and reliable for members.

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