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Coal Combustion Residuals - Proposed Rule

CCR Rule
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Coal Combustion Residuals, often referred to as coal ash, are currently considered exempt wastes under an amendment to RCRA, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. They are residues from the combustion of coal in power plants and captured by pollution control technologies, like scrubbers. Potential environmental concerns from coal ash pertain to pollution from impoundment and landfills leaching into ground water and structural failures of impoundments, like that which occurred at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s plant in Kingston, Tennessee. The need for national management criteria was emphasized by the December 2008 spill of CCRs from a surface impoundment near Kingston, TN. The tragic spill flooded more than 300 acres of land with CCRs and flowed into the Emory and Clinch rivers.

EPA is proposing to regulate for the first time coal ash to address the risks from the disposal of the wastes generated by electric utilities and independent power producers. EPA is considering two possible options for the management of coal ash for public comment. Both options fall under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under the first proposal, EPA would list these residuals as special wastes subject to regulation under subtitle C of RCRA, when destined for disposal in landfills or surface impoundments. Under the second proposal, EPA would regulate coal ash under subtitle D of RCRA, the section for non-hazardous wastes. The Agency considers each proposal to have its advantages and disadvantages, and includes benefits which should be considered in the public comment period.

Coal Combustion Residuals – Proposed Rule – June 21, 2010

The support materials for this proposed rule and the public comments EPA received on the proposal are available for public review online at Regulations.gov.

To use Regulations.gov: In the Keyword or ID Search box, type in the docket number EPA–HQ–RCRA–2009–0640 and press “Enter” on your keyboard, or “Search” on the web page to receive search results.

Federal Registers

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

Notice of Data Availability (NODA) – August 2, 2013

This NODA announced and invited comment on additional information obtained by EPA in conjunction with the June 21, 2010 proposed CCR rule.

The information on which EPA sought comment is categorized as:

  1. Additional data to supplement the Regulatory Impact Analysis and risk assessment;
  2. Information on large scale fill; and
  3. Data on the surface impoundment structural integrity assessments.

Note: On pages 46942 and 46944 of the August 2, 2013 Federal Register notice, there is a typo; this is the correct link to the Structural Integrity Surface Impoundment Assessments.

Frequent Questions

The comment period closed on September 3, 2013.

To use Regulations.gov: In the Keyword or ID Search box, type in the docket number EPA-HQ-RCRA-2012-0028.


Notice of Data Availability (NODA) – October 12, 2011

This NODA announced and invited comment on additional information obtained by EPA in conjunction with the June 21, 2010 proposed rule. This additional information is generally categorized as follows:

  1. Chemical constituent data from coal combustion residuals;
  2. Facility and waste management unit data;
  3. Information on additional alleged damage cases;
  4. Adequacy of State programs; and
  5. Beneficial Use.

The comment period closed on November 14, 2011. These materials and the comments received can be found in the docket.


Notice of Data Availability on Coal Combustion Residual Surface Impoundments – October 21, 2010

Notice of Data Availability on Coal Combustion Residual Surface Impoundments on the proposed rulemaking on the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities (75 FR 35128).

This information has been posted on EPA's website for several months as part of our overall efforts to assess the structural integrity of surface impoundments and other units containing wet-handled CCRs. This information consists of responses to information requests that EPA sent to electric utilities on their coal combustion residual (CCR) surface impoundments as well as reports and materials related to the site assessments that EPA conducted on a subset of these CCR impoundments. The information is available in the docket via PDF files with permanent links to the underlying documents, helping to consolidate and make it easier for the public to search and access the information.


Coal Combustion Residuals Technical Corrections Notice – August 20, 2010

The notice has five main actions:

  1. Extension of the public comment period from September 20 to November 19, 2010. This 60 day extension is in response to numerous requests to extend the comment period.
  2. Technical corrections to the proposed rule. The proposed rule as published in the Federal Register on June 21, 2010 had several inadvertent administrative errors, which could cause confusion if not corrected.
  3. Notice that additional support documents have been placed in the rulemaking docket for public inspection. This includes documents referenced in the proposed rule, but previously found on EPA’s Coal Combustion Residuals Partnership website. The docket provides the date on which documents have been added, making the new materials easy to identify.
  4. Two additional Public Hearings. Given the significant public interest in the proposal and to further public participation opportunities, on August 6, 2010, EPA announced on its website that it would hold hearings in Pittsburgh, PA on September 21, 2010, and in Louisville, KY, on September 28, 2010 in addition to 5 public hearings already scheduled. Details on all the public hearings can be found on EPA’s website.
  5. One additional webinar: On August 6, EPA announced on its website that it would conduct another webinar. Currently, the Agency has held education webinars on August 5 and August 12. Additional webinar date, scope, and format.


Announcement of Public Hearings – July 15, 2010

Notice: In response to numerous requests, EPA announced that it scheduled two additional public hearings and one additional webinar on the Coal Combustion Residuals Proposed Rule. The public hearings were held in Pittsburgh, PA on September 21, 2010 and in Louisville, KY on September 28, 2010.


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