EPA Postpones Compliance Deadline for Clean Water Act Rule Aimed at Power Plants

Posted on 9/19/2017 by Roger Marks

On Monday, September 18, US EPA promulgated a Final Rule in the Federal Register to postpone a compliance deadline for coal-fired power plants subject to new Clean Water Act effluent limitations finalized in November 2015.

In the November 2015 Final Rule, part of which is now under reconsideration, EPA:
  • Lowers permissible discharge limits for key pollutants like arsenic, mercury, selenium, and nitrogen; and
  • Requires operators of power plants to install new Best Available Technology or BAT to reduce discharges of toxic metals and other toxins and meet new “pretreatment standards for existing sources,” or PSES. 
coal-fired-power-plant.jpgIn Monday’s rulemaking, EPA delayed the compliance deadline for one part of that 2015 Final Rule—effluent limitations for flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater and bottom ash transport water. For these two waste streams, the earliest deadline will be delayed while EPA considers a separate Clean Water Act rulemaking to address these specific waste streams.

Originally, the 2015 rule required power plants to put in place new technology “…as soon as possible beginning November 1, 2018.” With Monday’s Final Rule, that deadline is amended—for FGD wastewater and bottom ash transport water only—to “…as soon as possible beginning November 1, 2020.”

To see a full list of electricity generation waste streams impacted by the 2015 Final Rule, read New Effluent Limitations for Coal Fired Power Plants. A majority of the requirements in the 2015 Rule are unaffected by EPA’s decision to postpone the compliance date for the two specific waste streams addressed above.

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Tags: Act, Clean, EPA, new rules, power plants, Water

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