Thermal power plant specifically coal fired power plant is the primary energy source for major developing countries such as China, India as well as in South East Asia. Primary energy consumption through coal has also regained its popularity in the U.S. due to emerging clean coal technologies and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Whilst the by-product of coal combustion through flue gas emission is well regulated in its content prior to release to the atmosphere, the filtered flue gas residue together with all other un-combusted material collectively termed as coal combustion residue (CCR) which comprises of fly ash, boiler slag, bottom ash and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) products are contained in surface impoundments or landfills depending on whether the CCR are handled using wet method or dry method. CCR is one of the largest waste streams in the U.S. second only to municipal solid waste (MSW). This paper summarizes the risk to human health and the environment from leakage of CCR in unlined CCR containment facilities as well as poorly designed surface impoundments and landfills. Current available information on CCR regulations in the U.S. and around the world are tabulated in the paper together with geomembrane barrier lining systems adopted for CCR containment facilities observed by the authors. Specific design considerations for CCR landfills compared with traditional design for MSW landfill shall be discussed.