Disposal of Waste Coal
This guidance document is advisory in nature but is binding on an agency until amended by such agency. A guidance document does not include internal procedural documents that only affect the internal operations of the agency and does not impose additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties or include confidential information or rules and regulations made in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. If you believe that this guidance document imposes additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties, you may request a review of the document.

Form #:  06-231
Guidance Documents
Revised: 12/7/16

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) considers waste coal, typically generated by train derailments, to be a special waste. Waste coal may be disposed of in a permitted municipal solid waste landfill or buried at the site of the derailment. Burial at the derailment site is the preferred of the two disposal methods because the disposed coal compounds the danger of an uncontrolled fire in a landfill. Burial on site must have department approval as required by Title 132

The NDEQ requires submittal of a
Special Waste Characterization Request form for the on-site management of waste coal.
  1. The Special Waste Characterization Request form must be provided to NDEQ, including the legal description, depth to groundwater, distance to surface water and land use of the intended disposal location. This allows NDEQ to assess the site and determine if it is an acceptable location prior to burial.
  2. A disposal trench must be excavated. Generally this trench should measure 4 to 10 feet deep and 10 to 20 feet wide.
  3. The trench must be lined with the equivalent of a 20-mil plastic liner sheet.
  4. The bottom liner sheet must be covered with 6 inches of fine dirt to prevent damage during the placement of the waste coal.
  5. The coal must be deposited and then covered with the equivalent of a 20-mil plastic liner sheet.
  6. The enclosed coal must be covered with 2 feet of earthen material cover and graded to facilitate surface water runoff.

  • NDEQ Waste Management Section - (402) 471-4210
  • NDEQ Toll Free Number - (877) 253-2603
  • NDEQ Hazardous Waste Compliance Assistant - (402) 471-8308
  • Email questions to: NDEQ.moreinfo@nebraska.gov
NDEQ Publications:
Produced by: Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 98922, Lincoln, NE 68509-8922; phone (402) 471-2186. To view this, and other information related to our agency, visit our web site at http://deq.ne.gov.