January 15, 2021

EPA Seeks More Information on CCR Beneficial Use

In August 2019, EPA proposed a coal combustion residues (CCR) rule reconsidering its beneficial use criteria and CCR accumulation in piles. [84 FR 40353] A review of the proposed rule can be found in our September 2019 article. Before finalizing this rule, the agency has determined it needs additional information and public input on existing data. Thus, EPA issued a notice of data availability (NODA) and request for comment on December 22, 2020. [85 FR 83478] Comments may be submitted until February 22, 2021 under Docket No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2020-0463.

One way EPA gathers CCR data is via documents posted on utility companies’ CCR compliance websites. These websites are linked via the agency’s own CCR compliance web page. As part of the beneficial use and piles rulemaking, the agency’s review of these websites focused on fugitive dust control plans, annual CCR landfill inspection reports, CCR landfill run-on/run-off control system reports, and annual groundwater monitoring and corrective action reports. EPA is taking comment on several issues associated with this information, including:

From May to August 2020, EPA held ten stakeholder meetings discussing beneficial use applications and specific practices facilities use to accumulate CCR in piles. From these meetings, the agency identified additional areas needing further information and input. A complete list of questions EPA is seeking answers to can be found in the NODA, but they can broadly be divided into five topics:

  1. CCR beneficial use applications;
  2. CCR generation specific for beneficial use (e.g., wallboard-grade gypsum) and any associated specifications;
  3. CCR accumulation management throughout the CCR distribution system;
  4. State CCR regulations applicable to beneficial use and storage provisions; and
  5. Environmental and risk data, including documented environmental and public health impacts.


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This document addresses issues of a general nature related to the federal RCRA regulations. Persons evaluating specific circumstances dealing with the RCRA regulations should review state and local laws and regulations, which may be more stringent than federal requirements. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any site-specific circumstances.