In 2015, the most significant addition to the waste program was the new EPA rule regulating disposal of coal ash, better known as the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule. The rule regulates CCR as a non-hazardous waste under Subtitle D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and establishes national minimum criteria for existing and new CCR landfills and surface impoundments and all lateral expansions consisting of location restrictions, design and operating criteria, groundwater monitoring and corrective action, closure requirements and post closure care, and recordkeeping, notification, and Internet posting requirements. The rule generally requires any existing unlined CCR surface impoundment that is contaminating groundwater above a regulated constituent’s groundwater protection standard to stop receiving CCR and either retrofit or close, and further requires the closure of any CCR landfill or surface impoundment that cannot meet the applicable performance criteria for location restrictions or structural integrity.
Because the Subtitle D rule is self-implementing, the CCR standards apply directly to the regulated facility, and facilities are directly responsible for ensuring that their operations comply with the rule’s requirements. While EPA has chosen to regulate the disposal of CCR in landfills and surface impoundments as non-hazardous waste under the final rule, the agency makes clear that it will continue to evaluate any risks associated with CCR disposal and leaves open the possibility that it may regulate CCR as a hazardous waste under RCRA Subtitle C in the future.
In accordance with its regulatory obligations, APS has installed monitoring wells as the first step in assessing the impoundments, will have completed the monitoring by October 2017 and at that time will determine next steps.