In December 2014, the EPA finalized a rule that nationally establishes minimum criteria for the safe disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCRs) in landfills and surface impoundments. The rule establishes requirements for both existing and new CCR landfills and surface impoundments, including lateral expansions of any existing unit (expansions of existing landfills).
What are CCRs?
CCRs are generated from the combustion of coal for the purpose of producing power. CCRs include fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas desulfurization materials. CCRs are one of the largest industrial waste streams generated in the United States. In 2012, more than 470 coal-fired electric utilities burned more than 800 million tons of coal, generating approximately 110 million tons of CCR.
The rule provides the communities impacted by the disposal of CCRs sufficient information about how CCRs are to be managed in their state, providing some degree of transparency with the compliance process. The rule also provides some certainty to power producers in managing the treatment of CCRs, but it is unclear whether compliance with the new federal requirements will provide a legal shield from civil suits. Electric utilities and independent power producers will need to work with their state regulators to ensure compliance with minimum state requirements and determine whether additional investments in equipment or infrastructure in their CCR landfills are needed.
The ScottMadden Energy Industry Update: https://www.scottmadden.com/insight/828/the-scottmadden-energy-industry-update-winter-2015.html
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