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.