Effluent Guidelines

Coal Mining Effluent Guidelines

Rule Summary

""EPA promulgated the Coal Mining Effluent Guidelines and Standards (40 CFR Part 434) in 1975, and amended the regulation in 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1985 and 2002. The regulation covers wastewater discharges from mine drainage, coal storage facilities, and coal preparation plants. The Coal Mining Effluent Guidelines and Standards are incorporated into NPDES permits.
 
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What is Coal Mining?

Mine operators extract coal from underground and surface mines using machinery and explosives. Coal remining occurs on mine lands and coal refuse piles that have been previously mined. Coal preparation plants remove waste material from coal by washing and concentrating. The plants may also sort and screen coal by size, and may crush the coal to facilitate handling and processing. The coal may be stored at several stages in the process of preparation and transport to the final customer.
 
Wastewater is generated during the mining process from groundwater produced during coal extraction, from water used by operators for equipment cooling and dust control, and from precipitation entering mines. Wastewater is also produced during the coal preparation process, and from contaminated stormwater at coal storage facilities.
 
These activities are included within NAICS code 21211, Coal Mining. (Note: the NAICS group listing is provided as a guide and does not define the coverage of the Coal Mining regulations. For precise definitions of coverage, see the applicability sections in 40 CFR Part 434.)

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Facilities Covered

The Coal Mining Effluent Guidelines apply to wastewater discharges from facilities in six subcategories:
  1. Coal Preparation Plants and Associated Areas
  2. Acid or Ferruginous Mine Drainage
  3. Alkaline Mine Drainage
  4. Post-Mining Areas
  5. Coal Remining
  6. Western Alkaline Coal Mining
(Subparts A and F contain General and Miscellaneous Provisions, respectively.)

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Rulemaking History

2002 Amendment

Added Subparts G and H
  • Final rule: 67 FR 3370, 1/23/2002 (PDF) (41 pp, 337K, About PDF)
  • Documents, including:
    • Development Document for the Western Alkaline Coal Mining Subcategory
      Describes industry processes, pollutants generated, available control & treatment technologies, the technical basis for the final rule, and costs of the rule
    • Coal Remining Best Management Practices Guidance Manual
      Describes abandoned mine land conditions and the performance of BMPs that have been implemented at remining operations. The manual is a technical reference document that presents research and data concerning the prediction and prevention of acid mine drainage
  • Proposed rule: 65 FR 19440, 4/11/2000 (PDF) (35 pp, 401K, About PDF)

1985 Amendment

Revised BPT, BAT, NSPS (pursuant to litigation settlement)
  • Documents, including:
    • Final rule: 50 FR 41296, 10/9/1985
    • Proposed rule: 49 FR 19240, 5/4/1984

1982 Amendment

Added BAT; revised BPT and NSPS requirements; reserved BCT
  • Documents, including:
    • Final Rule: 47 FR 45382, 10/13/1982
    • Development Document
      Industry description, wastewater characterization, treatment technologies, regulatory compliance cost estimates and pollutant loadings for the final rule
    • Proposed Rule (revisions & corrections): 46 FR 28873, 5/29/1981
    • Proposed Rule (BPT, BAT, BCT, NSPS): 46 FR 3136, 1/13/1981

1979 Amendment

Added NSPS
  • Documents, including:
    • Final Rule (Amended definition of "new source coal mine"): 45 FR 43413, 6/27/1980
    • Final Rule (Precipitation Exemption): 44 FR 76788, 12/28/1979
    • Final Rule (Clarifying amendment–catastrophic rainfall exemption): 44 FR 19193, 4/2/1979
    • Original Final Rule (NSPS) and PSES withdrawal: 44 FR 2586, 1/12/1979
    • Proposed Rule (NSPS): 42 FR 46932, 9/19/1977
    • Proposed Rule (PSES): 40 FR 48839, 10/17/1975

1977 Amendment

Revised BPT requirements
  • Documents, including:
    • Final Rule: 42 FR 21380, 4/26/1977
    • Proposed Rule (BPT and BAT): 41 FR 19841, 5/13/1976

1976 Amendment

Revised BPT requirements
  • Documents, including:
    • Interim Final Rule: 41 FR 19832, 5/13/1976
    • Development Document
      Industry description, wastewater characterization, treatment technologies, regulatory compliance cost estimates and pollutant loadings for the final rule

1975 Initial Rulemaking

Established BPT requirements
  • Documents, including:
    • Interim Final Rule: 40 FR 48830, 10/17/1975
    • Development Document
      Industry description, wastewater characterization, treatment technologies, regulatory compliance cost estimates and pollutant loadings for the final rule

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Additional Information

For additional information regarding Coal Mining Effluent Guidelines, please contact Ron Jordan (jordan.ronald@epa.gov) or 202-566-1003.

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