Partial Reprint of EPA Press Release
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized several changes to the regulations for coal combustion residuals on July 29, 2020. Known as CCR or coal ash, the regulations implement the court’s vacatur of certain closure requirements as well as adding provisions that enhance the public’s access to information about the management of coal ash at electric utilities.
The final rule specifies that all unlined surface impoundments are required to retrofit or close, not just those that have detected groundwater contamination above regulatory levels.
The rule also changes the classification of compacted-soil lined or “clay-lined” surface impoundments from “lined” to “unlined,” which means that formerly defined clay-lined surface impoundments are no longer considered lined surface impoundments and need to be retrofitted or closed.
Additionally, the rule establishes a revised date, April 11, 2021, by which unlined surface impoundments and units that failed the aquifer location restriction must cease receiving waste and initiate closure or retrofit. EPA determined this new feasible date after a thorough review of the construction timeline information submitted during the public comment period.
The regulations in place to detect, assess, and remediate impacts on groundwater from CCR in surface impoundments and landfills remain in place and implementation continues on schedule. The 2015 requirements for facility inspection, monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements are unchanged except for [website and reporting} enhancements [for] public access to information.
EPA is also finalizing revisions to the alternative closure provisions that would grant certain facilities additional time to develop alternative capacity to manage their waste streams (including additional waste – primarily non-CCR wastewater – generated at the facility) before they must stop receiving waste and initiate closure of their surface impoundments.
For a Fact Sheet visit the EPA website.
Solar Ready CCR Site Closures Help Energy Companies Move Toward a Sustainable Future
Electricity is the one big energy source that can be free of carbon emissions. You can make it from the sun. You can make it from the wind. Tap the heat of the Earth, hydropower. While all utilities are moving in a sustainable, environmentally friendly direction, Aliant Energy stands out for making progress and keeping rates reasonable for consumers.
At the recent USWAG Workshop on Decommissioning, Repurposing & Expansion of Utility Assets held October 2019, Eric Nelson presented on the opportunities for solar generation at closed CCR sites and provided an overview of civil and geotechnical considerations when redeveloping closed sites as solar generating assets. His presentation demonstrated these considerations through the use of a case study.
SCS Engineers has assisted Alliant Energy with the design and/or construction of multiple coal combustion residual (CCR) surface impoundment closures. Two of the completed closures are the former Rock River Generating Station in Beloit, Wisconsin, and the M.L. Kapp Generating Station in Clinton, Iowa.
Both sites were closed by incorporating Alliant Energy’s vision to create “solar ready” sites. The Rock River site is now home to just over 2 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) generating capacity, which was developed on the footprint of the now-closed on-site landfill and ash ponds. Although no solar assets have been developed at the site, the M.L. Kapp ash pond closure represents another opportunity for Alliant Energy to repurpose a closed ash pond for clean power.
Two additional closure designs are in process that incorporates similar elements, making them available for future solar generating asset development.
Eric J. Nelson, PE, is a Vice President of SCS Engineers and one of our National Experts for Electric Utilities. He is an experienced engineer and hydrogeologist.
Even the simplest impoundment closures come with design challenges. It is a challenge to navigate project constraints, whether technical, regulatory, or financial, to design and implement an effective closure strategy. Cost often helps to determine the “balance” between project constraints when the future end use of a closed CCR surface impoundment or the property it occupies is undefined. When a post-closure end use is defined, finding balance among project constraints to best serve that future use provides rewarding challenges.
SCS Engineers has navigated this balancing act on impoundment closure projects during generating facility decommissioning. Through a presentation of case studies, you can learn how this team has approached ash pond closure planning and execution where the future use of the impoundment site ranged from undefined to the home of a new solar photovoltaic installation. Examples also include potential future industrial use or property sale.
Case studies will highlight how geotechnical, hydrological, regulatory, or simple physical constraints have influenced the design and implementation of CCR surface impoundment closures.
EUEC 2019 in San Diego, February 25-27, 2019. Conference details here.
Learn how to minimize leachate and contact water management at coal combustion residual (CCR) landfills using good design, physical controls, and operational practices.
Through this SCS presentation of case studies, you will learn how to assess leachate and contact water management issues and implement techniques to minimize leachate and contact water management at your landfill.
Leachate management and contact water management at CCR landfills can be expensive, cause operational headaches, and divert valuable resources from other critical plant needs. Our presentation will provide you with useful tools to ensure your landfill is designed and operated to effectively reduce leachate and contact water and alleviate operator stress. We will present case studies that highlight how design features, physical controls, and operational practices have effectively decreased leachate and contact water management at CCR landfills.
2019 EUEC in San Diego, February 25-17, 2019. Conference details here.
Learn how to minimize leachate and contact water management costs at coal combustion residual (CCR) landfills using good design, physical controls, and operational practices. Through the SCS use of case studies, you will learn how to assess leachate and contact water management issues and implement cost-saving techniques at your landfill.
Leachate management and contact water management at CCR landfills can be expensive, cause operational headaches, and divert valuable resources from other critical plant needs. The SCS presentation at USWAG will provide you with useful tools to ensure your landfill is designed and operated to cost-effectively reduce leachate and contact water and alleviate operator stress. We will present case studies that highlight how design features, physical controls, and operational practices have effectively decreased leachate and contact water management at CCR landfills.
SCS Engineers – Serving Utilities Nationwide
In a Motion filed on November 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) requested remand of five provisions of the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) Rule (40 CFR Parts 257 and 261), which would allow the agency to reconsider the provisions. This SCS Engineers Technical Bulletin covers the five provisions and the basis for their reconsideration. Read the full text here.
Oral arguments on EPA’s motion took place on November 20, 2017. EPA had asked that oral arguments be postponed, and all other aspects of the litigation are suspended until it could rule, but the court did not agree. The current provisions in this Technical Bulletin remain in place unless and until USEPA revises or rescinds them in a future rulemaking.