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Public Notice: Proposed NPDES Permit; APS Four Corners Power Plant; Fruitland, New Mexico

Publish Date: 04/30/2019

Summary

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9 (EPA) is issuing a notice of proposed action under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The EPA is proposing to issue a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit NN0000019 to:

Arizona Public Service Company
Four Corners Power Plant
Fruitland, New Mexico 87416

The United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9 (EPA) provides notice of, and requests public comment on, EPA’s proposed action relating to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit application for renewal of the above referenced permit in compliance with the provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Public Law 92-500, as amended, 33. U.S.C 1251 et seq.) EPA is issuing a proposed NPDES permit (Proposed Permit) to Arizona Public Service Company (APS or the Applicant) for the Four Corners Power Plant (FCPP) on the Navajo Nation that would permit the discharge of effluent from Morgan Lake to No Name Wash, a tributary to the Chaco River which s flows into to Segment 2-401 of the San Juan River. The address for APS is P.O. Box 355, Station 4900, Fruitland, NM 87416.  The proposed location of the action is at the existing FCPP located at the end of San Juan County Road 6675 in Fruitland, New Mexico. The FCPP is about 20 miles southwest of Farmington, NM, and is partially owned and operated by APS on behalf of itself as well as the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, El Paso Electric Company, Public Service Company of New Mexico, and Tucson Electric Power Company.

The APS FCPP has been operating pursuant to successive NPDES permits for several decades. EPA initially issued a revised NPDES permit in June of 2018, but withdrew it in December 2018 after it was challenged in the Environmental Appeals Board to address a number of issues raised by the public.  APS is currently operating under the administratively extended NPDES Permit No. NN0000019.

EPA’s Proposed Permit is available on the EPA's Website.

Information submitted by the Applicant as part of its Application is available as part of the administrative record of this proposed permit. The administrative record, including the draft permit, fact sheet, comments received, data submitted by the applicant, and other relevant documents, is available for review during normal business hours (9:00 AM to 4:00 PM) at the EPA Region 9 address above. Due to building security procedures, please call Gary Sheth at (415) 972-3516 at least 48 hours in advance to arrange a visit.

The Applicant has also submitted a request for certification of the Proposed Permit under Clean Water Act Section 401(a)(1). In addition to issuing the Proposed Permit, EPA is the agency responsible for certifying (or waiving certification) that the Proposed Permit complies with the applicable provisions of the Clean Water Act as it affects water quality.

EPA hereby provides notice of, and requests public comment on, EPA’s proposed waiver of certification under Clean Water Act Section 401(a)(1). In its Application, the Applicant has provided a description of the facility, activity and discharge subject to the Proposed Permit, including the proposed treatment technology, monitoring methods and the dates of discharge. Given that the aquatic resources protected by the certification program are the same as the aquatic resources being protected pursuant to the Proposed Permit and the Proposed Permit contains conditions necessary to achieve compliance with the CWA, EPA proposes to waive CWA Section 401(a)(1) certification for the Proposed Permit.

When public interest warrants, EPA may schedule a public hearing or may grant an extension of the comment period for the submittal of comments or objections (40 CFR Part 124.14). EPA will send notice of its final permit decision to each person who submitted comments and contact information during the comment period or requested notice of the final permit decision. EPA will summarize the contents of substantive comments and provide written responses in a document accompanying EPA’s final permit decision. Within 33 days after EPA issues the final permit, any person who filed comments on the draft permit may petition the Environmental Appeals Board to review any condition of the permit decision (40 CFR Part 124.19).

If you have questions, or if you wish to obtain further information, please contact Gary Sheth (sheth.gary@epa.gov) at (415) 972-3516, via e-mail, or at the mailing address above. If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive future information about this Proposed Permit decision or other decisions issued by EPA Region 9 related to this NPDES permit, please contact Gary Sheth at the phone number or e-mail provided above.

***Please bring the foregoing notice to the attention of all persons who would be interested in this matter.***

Applicant or Respondent

Arizona Public Service Company
Fruitland, NM 87416

Permit #: NPDES Permit No. NN0000019