In October 2015, EPA finalized the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule regulating the disposal of combustion residuals and solid waste under subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The rule establishes minimum criteria for existing and new CCR landfills and surface impoundments including location restrictions, performance criteria, groundwater monitoring, and closure and post closure care.

Shortly after, in November 2015, EPA finalized updates to the Effluent Limitation Guidelines for the Steam Electric Power Generating source category. First established in 1974 as part of the Clean Water Act, these regulations are designed to protect public health and the environment from toxic metals and other harmful pollutants by limiting wastewater discharges from all power plants burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, petroleum coke, and synthetic gas) or nuclear fuels. Affected power plants must comply with the updated regulations between November 2018 and December 2023.

The list below includes the wastestreams covered by the 2015 ELG final ruling:

  • Fly Ash and Bottom Ash Transport Water – Wastewater that is used to sluice ash from the collection area of the boiler or particulate control device to an ash pond or other treatment system. Transport water does not include quench water or water resulting from minor maintenance activities or leaks.
  • Flue Gas Desulfurization Wastewater – Wastewater generated directly from a facility’s wet flue gas desulfurization system including system blowdown, overflow and underflow from solids separation process, FGD solids wash water, and filtrate from solids dewatering.
  • Flue Gas Mercury Control Wastewater – Wastewater generated from a mercury removal system.
  • Combustion Residual Leachate – Liquid including any suspended or dissolved constituents and combustion residuals that has percolated through waste or other material placed in a landfill or that passes through a surface impoundment’s containment system.
  • Gasification Wastewater – Any wastewater generated at an integrated gasification combined cycle facility.
  • Chemical and Non-chemical Metal Cleaning Wastes – Wastewater resulting from cleaning metal process equipment including boiler tubes and air preheaters.
  • Low Volume Wastewater – Collective wastewater from all other sources not specifically limited by the ELF such as ion exchange water treatment systems, laboratory and sampling streams, boiler blowdown, floor drains, and cooling tower basin cleaning wastes.
  • Once Through Cooling Water – Cooling water that is used a single time before being discharged.
  • Cooling Tower Blowdown – Water discharged from the closed cooling water loop to remove mineral build up.
  • Coal Pile Run-off – Wastewater generated as a result of precipitation events at the facility.

The timelines for implementation of these two regulations overlap, forcing facilities to create a holistic approach to the management of both their solids and liquid wastestreams, while still maintaining compliance with applicable air regulations. Sega’s past experience with ash, water, and wastewater discharges can be an asset to your CCR and ELG compliance challenges.