Steam Electric Power Generating Effluent Guidelines - 2015 Final Rule
- On an annual basis, the rule is projected to reduce the amount of toxic metals, nutrients, and other pollutants that steam electric power plants are allowed to discharge by 1.4 billion pounds and reduce water withdrawal by 57 billion gallons
Estimated annual compliance costs for the final rule are $480 million
Estimated benefits associated with the rule are $451 to $566 million
On this page:
- Affected Facilities
- Regulatory Requirements
- Final Rule
- Background Documents
- Updates Since 2015
- Additional Information
Steam electric plant discharges include arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, chromium, and cadmium. Many of these toxic pollutants, once in the environment, remain there for years.
The current regulations for the industry were last updated in 1982 and do not adequately address toxic metal discharges. The 1982 rule focused on settling out particulates rather than treating dissolved pollutants.
New technologies for generating electric power and the widespread implementation of air pollution controls over the last 30 years have altered existing wastewater streams or created new wastewater streams at many power plants, particularly coal-fired plants. The 2015 rule addresses these changes in the industry.
Certain coal-fired steam electric power plants will be affected by this rule. EPA estimates that about 12 percent of steam electric power plants will incur some costs.
flue gas desulfurization
flue gas mercury control
gasification of fuels such as coal and petroleum coke
- Final Rule - Federal Register Notice (November 3, 2015)
- Support documents, including:
- Fact Sheet
- Technical Development Document
- Environmental Assessment
- Benefit and Cost Analysis
- Regulatory Impact Assessment
Documents related to the rulemaking can be found on EPA’s docket at regulations.gov. The Docket Number is EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0819.
- Proposed Rule: Federal Register Notice (June 7, 2013)
- Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category: Final Detailed Study Report (2009)
- Laboratory Analysis of Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) Wastewater
Summaries of EPA consultations with Indian Tribes and consultations pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and Executive Order 13132 on federalism
Blank survey form and response database for EPA's 2010 questionnaire that was distributed to steam electric power plants
2021 Supplemental Rulemaking
EPA has initiated a supplemental rulemaking to strengthen certain discharge limits following promulgation of the 2020 Reconsideration Rule. The Agency intends to issue a proposed rule for public comment in the fall of 2022.
2020 Reconsideration Rule
On August 31, 2020, EPA issued a final rule which updated the requirements for flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater and bottom ash (BA) transport water.
- 2020 reconsideration rule (August 31, 2020)
For additional technical information about the final rule, please contact Richard Benware (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 202-566-1369. For economic information please contact James Covington (email@example.com) or 202-566-1034.