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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an advance notice of a final rulemaking that will regulate coal combustion residuals (CCR) as solid waste under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The rulemaking will apply to CCR generated by coal-fired power plants.
Although CCR will not be regulated as hazardous waste under Subtitle C of RCRA, the rulemaking does provide a number of requirements related to CCR disposal. The rulemaking will establish minimum criteria for the placement of CCR in landfills and surface impoundments; however, the rulemaking will not impact CCR disposed in coal mines. According to the EPA, the U.S. Department of the Interior will address the placement of CCR in minefills as a separate regulatory action.
Included in the rulemaking are location restrictions which will apply to the disposal of CCR in landfills and surface impoundments, and all lateral expansions of CCR landfills and CCR surface impoundments (CCR Units). The location restrictions will relate to the placement of CCRin the following locations:
The rulemaking will also include requirements for liners and leachate collection systems which are briefly summarized in the following table.
All New CCR Units
Existing CCR Surface Impoundments
Composite liner consisting of a geomembrane and a two-foot layer of compacted soil
1) Retrofit required if not constructed with a composite liner or with at least two feet of compacted soil with a specified hydraulic conductivity
2) Retrofit required if concentrations of one or more constituents are found in groundwater at statistically significant levels above groundwater protection standards
Leachate Collection and Removal System
Not required – see New Landfills
Structural Integrity Assessments
The rulemaking also requires owners or operators to regularly conduct a number of structural integrity-related assessments, including hazard potential classification assessments, structural stability assessments, and safety factor assessments. The rulemaking establishes structural integrity criteria for new and existing surface impoundments and all lateral expansions thereto as part of the requisite design criteria. The applicability of the structural integrity requirements will vary depending on factors specific to individual CCR surface impoundments such as dike heights and the potential for loss of life.
The rulemaking will establish operating criteria which will include:
Timing for Compliance
This rulemaking will become effective 180 days after publication in the Federal Register. Once published, existing CCR Units will have a staggered timeframe to comply, which ranges from as little as six months to as much as 42 months depending on the requirement. Extensions may be available for facilities located in states with plans approved per Section 4003(b) of RCRA. The advance notice may be viewed and downloaded at http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-12/documents/ccr_finalrule_prepub.pdf
If you have any questions regarding this development or any other issues related to CCR or RCRA, please contact Donald C. Bluedorn II at (412) 394-5450 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Timothy S. Bytner at (412) 394-6504 or email@example.com.
Copyright 2015 • Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C. • Two Gateway Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 • 412-394-5400 • Administrative Watch is privately distributed by Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C., for the general information of its clients, friends and readers. It is not designed to be, nor should it be considered or used as, the sole source of analyzing and resolving legal problems. If you have, or think you may have, a legal problem or issue relating to any of the matters discussed in the Administrative Watch, consult legal counsel.
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