EPA Proposes Strict Clean Water Act Treatment Technology for Coal-Fired Power Plants

On March 8th, the EPA proposed an Effluent Limitation Guidance (ELG) rule designed to meet a “zero discharge” goal for the steam electric power generating point source category. The proposal includes requirements for advanced membrane treatment technology which the EPA believes is necessary to meet the CWA’s definition of “best available technology” required by the ELG. ELGs are technology based treatment mandates that the EPA adopts to represent the greatest pollution reductions an industry can achieve through economically feasible methods.

The EPA’s proposed rule will also set tighter discharge standards for flue-gas desulphurization wastewater, bottom ash transport water, and combustion residual leachate which are intended to achieve zero discharge from those waste streams. Facilities operating under the current requirements can avoid complying with the proposed rule if they close by 2028. The proposed rule is designed to encourage the industry to wean itself off of coal-fired steam plants. For more information, please contact one of the attorneys in SGR’s Environmental Practice.

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