EPA publishes final rule regulating coal combustion residuals

Ameren worksite in Hutsonville, Illinois

Dec. 19, 2014 – The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final rule to regulate the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR).  The EPA states that CCR warrant regulatory controls but are not classified or regulated as a hazardous waste.  CCR will be regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle D rules that currently apply to solid waste.  Under Subtitle D, CCR impoundments and landfills are required to have composite liners (or a performance based liner system), leachate collection systems, and a system to monitor groundwater quality.

The rule requires existing unlined CCR surface impoundments that are impacting groundwater above the groundwater protection standards to be closed or retrofitted.  In addition, if a surface impoundment does not meet structural performance criteria, it should be closed or retrofitted.

This rule applies to all new and existing CCR generated by electric utilities and independent power producers.  The beneficial reuse of CCR is not addressed in the new rule but it will continue to be addressed by previous rulings on the beneficial use of CCRs.  The placement of CCR in coal mines and non-utility boilers is not addressed in this rule, but it will be addressed in a separate rulemaking effort.

For further information, the pre-publication copy of the final rule is located at http://www2.epa.gov/coalash/coal-ash-rule#rulesummary or you can contact Anna Saindon, P.E., R.G., Ph.D. at 314-997-7440.

Reference: Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities 40 CFR Parts 257 and 261