ASDWA Comments and EPA Proposed Rules for Power Plant Discharges and Residuals

On May 24, ASDWA submitted comments on EPA’s proposed power plant discharge rule, “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards: Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category.” The comments support EPA’s action under the Clean Water Act that establishes a zero-discharge limitation for all pollutants in bottom ash (BA) transport water and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater. This limitation will effectively restrict discharges of bromide and other harmful chemicals such as selenium, mercury, arsenic, nickel, chloride, and iodide, nutrient pollution, and total dissolved solids from entering our nation’s waterways and drinking water sources. For legacy wastewater, ASDWA’s comments recommend that the final rule transfer the proposed zero-discharge limitations for FGD wastewater and largely support more stringent limitations for all legacy wastewater contained in surface impoundments used for coal ash disposal sites. ASDWA comments also recommend that the final rule require permitting authorities to carefully consider all contaminants in legacy wastewater, along with the proximity and vulnerability of both surface and groundwater sources of drinking water, as part of the coordinated implementation process with the Coal Combustion Residuals Disposal Rule under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). For more information, visit Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0819-9025 at and read ASDWA’s comments here.

On May 18, EPA proposed another rule under RCRA, “Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) From Electric Utilities; Legacy CCR Surface Impoundments.” This proposed rule would require owners and operators of legacy CCR surface impoundments to comply with all existing requirements applicable to inactive CCR surface impoundments at active facilities, except for the location restrictions and liner design criteria. As part of this action, EPA is also proposing to establish groundwater monitoring, corrective action, closure, and post closure care requirements for all sites where CCR was disposed of or managed on land outside of regulated units at CCR facilities. This is intended to address legacy CCR surface impoundment and CCR management units that are not currently regulated at the federal level and pose risks to groundwater and drinking water. For more information, visit the EPA website and read the Federal Register Notice.