A federal court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to set federal regulations for the proper disposal of toxic coal ash.

Judge Reggie Walton for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed with environmental and public health groups that had filed a lawsuit in April 2012, challenging the EPA’s lack of federal regulations for the United States’ second largest industrial waste stream, according to a news release from Washington-based Earthjustice.

In its ruling, the court said it will issue a memorandum opinion within 30 days with more specifics.

Earthjustice called the decision the first step toward federally enforceable safeguards, monitoring and protections against coal ash. The court did deny one of the environmentalists claims regarding testing procedures for coal ash contamination, but Earthjustice said it needs more details before the group can understand the implications of that ruling.