Coal Ash and Liquid Management (CALM)

The Coal Ash and Liquid Management (CALM) Initiative was launched in September 2015 at UNC Charlotte by Chris Hardin, P.E., Managing Director and several faculty researchers from the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center, (EPIC) in September 2015 to develop practical, technology-based solutions for the energy production industry to address problems and challenges with coal ash and liquids management.   Effective January 2018, the CALM Initiative has evolved into a private, industry funded consortium, that is based at the UNC Charlotte PORTAL Building.      CALM will continue to utilize the expertise at UNC Charlotte EPIC, but also work with a wide variety of industry experts to address the unique challenges presented by coal ash remediation, coal combustion energy production and energy wastewater treatment.

The objective of CALM is to work with a wide variety of industry partners, and the electric power utilities to provide the most recent technology for evaluating groundwater impacts and coal ash impoundment stability.  This will be accomplished by initiating a combination of applied research projects, and large demonstration projects that increase safety, improve long term performance and reduce cost.

Note from the Managing Director

CALM Initiative Members,

As mentioned by the Energy Production Infrastructure Center (EPIC) Director, Dr. Mike Mazzola the CALM Initiative has left UNC Charlotte to form a private, industry partner-centered organization focused on coal ash, industrial waste management and wastewater treatment from energy production.   This transition was completed effective, January 1, 2018 and the CALM Initiative is an industry consortium located at the PORTAL Building near UNC Charlotte.

As a privately funded, industry consortium the CALM Initiative will continue to focus on developing safe, environmentally responsible, technically sound and cost-effective technologies for containment and/or remediation of coal ash and other industrial waste materials.    The CALM Initiative will continue to work with UNC Charlotte EPIC and other respected applied research organizations, while serving the needs of its industry and citizens interested in learning about what it takes produce clean, cost effective and environmentally responsible industrial waste management.

Since its beginning, the CALM Initiative has been a respected technical resource for companies and individuals who are looking for straightforward answers and practical solutions for dealing with coal ash and other industrial waste materials.  For those interested in more information feel free to contact the CALM Initiative with ideas about applied research demonstration projects.


Chris Hardin, P.E.

Managing Director
Coal Ash and Liquid Management (CALM) Office and the
Energy & Environment Innovation Foundation, LLC.


Purpose: To develop practical, technology-based solutions for the electric power and energy production industries to address problems and challenges with coal ash and liquids management.

Objective: To work with a wide variety of Industry Partners, the electric power utilities and energy production companies to provide the most recent technology addressing waste management, (i.e. coal ash and other byproducts) and liquids management and treatment.  This will be accomplished by initiating a combination of applied research projects, and large demonstration projects that increase safety, achieve regulatory compliance, improve long term performance and reduce cost.

Focus: Clean and cost-effective energy and waste technology using old and new methods that produce and secure jobs for hard-working Americans.

Approach: The CALM Initiative brings together the best ideas and from highly experienced engineers and contractors in the power industry to develop innovative and practical methods for addressing the problems with coal ash, industrial waste and energy wastewater.    As experienced environmental remediation professionals, the CALM Initiative members have a heightened awareness of environmental protection and worker safety.  The founding Industry Partners wanted to create an organization that could address these complimentary objectives in a manner that is practical, cost effective and sustainable.


  1. Provide additional innovation and technical advisory services for CALM Initiative members including stabilization roads, dewatering, in-situ stabilization (ISS), geotubes and dewatering bags, geotextiles and geogrids, surface and soil treatments and super absorbent polymers, advanced remediation technologies (ART) and wide variety of water treatment and runoff water reduction measures.   We expect work more closely with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in 2018 to provide field demonstration of several innovative technologies started by EPRI in 2016 - 2017.
  2. Ash Basin Safety Awareness Courses -- 20-hour Supervisor and On-site 8-hour Worker Safety Courses:   Safety when working over soft/wet ash will continue to be an issue in 2018.   The CALM Initiative provides practical training courses to promote worker safety and “train the trainer” supervisor training to allow its member companies to train their on-site workers and safety personnel.  The 8-hour worker safety course can be hosted at CALM members project sites.
  3. Task Force Groups and Utility Only Meetings:  Starting in 2018 the CALM Initiative will host several Task Force group calls and meeting in areas requested by CALM members.  These focus areas are expected to include, but are not limited to:  a)  encapsulation and paste technology and equipment selection, b)  technology transfer meetings,  c) input on State CCR regulations, and d)  hybrid closure technology including close-in-place and in-situ stabilization methods.
  4. Emphasis on Bench Scale Testing and Practical Field Application:   The CALM Initiative has obtained access to several bench scale and pilot test devices that can be mobilized to the field to treat CCR wastewater, and stabilize saturated industry waste materials.  One of the key initiatives in 2018 will include a streamlined approach to bringing new technologies to the field for application and testing.   The streamlined approach will leverage the resources of the Energy & Environment Innovative Foundation lab and several CALM Initiative members to reduce costs.
  5. Assistance with Clarifying Confusion in Regulatory Guidelines:   One of the frustrations expressed by the Industry Partners is that the intersection between Federal and State regulatory guidelines is often not clear when it comes to closure of CCR impoundments, and/or beneficial use of CCR materials.   To address this item the CALM Initiative will develop practical testing and application guidelines that meet both Federal and State regulatory guidelines.
  6. Hosting of a Members Only Technical Library on CCR Remediation Technologies: The CALM Initiative is continually developing new technologies that address regulatory requirements and constructability requirements.   In 2018, the CALM Initiative will develop and host a technical library that includes Confidential and/or proprietary remediation technologies available only to CALM members.   This technical library will be password protected and available to the CALM Initiative members and the electric power utilities that they serve.
  7. Developing Technology that Helps Keep Americans Employed in Satisfying Careers: In a time when there is increased uncertainty about energy production and jobs in rural communities, the CALM Initiative attempts to develop practical technology that keeps local workers in employed in satisfying careers.   Example of projects being considered in 2018 include a wide variety of CCR beneficial use technologies and encapsulation methods that can reduce the cost of ash basin closure, while providing jobs in areas where coal combustion plants are closing.

Chris Hardin, P.E.Managing Director of the CALM Initiative
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Ric Traver, P.E.Senior Technical Coordinator of the CALM Initiative
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CALM Initiative Industry Partner Advisory Board
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In a time when environmental sustainability and cost controls are equally valued, the CALM Initiative attempts to be a “breath of fresh air” and optimism for addressing environmental impacts.   The approach of the CALM Initiative’s members is to make a difference by looking for new way to address impacts from coal ash impoundments and industrial facilities.    The experienced professionals of the CALM Initiative are consistently developing methods that preserve or remediate environmental impacts, but doing it is a manner that is safe and cost effective.


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Task Forces

The CALM Initiative and its members will periodically convene special Task Forces to address potential problem areas and/or needs for new technology.  The purpose of these Task Forces is develop technical solutions for challenging remediation conditions, and/or to create a consensus best management guidelines (BMG's) that can be used by CALM Initiative members.

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Providing additional innovation and technical advisory services for CALM Initiative members.

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Contact Info

9319 Robert D Snyder Road
Suite 340, PORTAL Building at UNC Charlotte
Charlotte, NC 28262

Phone: 704.687.0948

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