In recent months, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun to issue consent decrees reflecting enforcement action against power utilities under a 2015 rule that established national standards for how coal-fired power plants should dispose of coal ash. Proactive steps now may help facilities avoid a fine similar to those cited in the recent consent decrees.
The Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule includes provisions for groundwater monitoring of existing and new CCR landfills and impoundments. EPA actions have included fines and requirements for compliance measures and appear to have been based upon a review of facilities’ published reports on required CCR websites, as well as subsequent information requests from the EPA. The rule was intended to be self-implementing, but some facilities’ compliance decisions are now being questioned by the EPA.
Items specifically identified by the EPA as non-compliant have included determinations that a CCR unit did not require monitoring under the rule, the number and spacing of monitoring wells, alternative source demonstrations, intrawell statistical limits, dry wells, and interference from other CCR sources. Barr recommends that clients falling under this rule review their past reports and, in particular, prior groundwater monitoring decisions, to assess whether preemptive actions now may avoid future EPA enforcement action. Barr can help review your facility’s CCR monitoring program to identify potential specific actions to maintain or achieve compliance. A cold-eye review such as this is often beneficial when compliance with complex regulations is critical.
Contact our team to learn more about Barr's environmental compliance support services.
About the author
Nick Palatiello focuses on market and strategy development for the power and manufacturing sectors and works with clients in a variety of capacities, from developing strategies for addressing PFAS to constructing solar facilities on brownfield sites. Nick works closely with clients to understand market and regulatory drivers and help them solve complex issues related to emerging contaminants and energy developments.