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December 2019 – Effluent Limitations Revised in Proposed Rule

Effluent Limitations Revised in Proposed Rule

In early November 2019, the United States Environmental Protection Agency released the much anticipated Proposed Rule to revise the technology-based effluent limitation guidelines and standards for the steam electric power generating point source category applicable to flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport water. The 2019 Proposed Rule is anticipated to result in substantial cost savings to the regulated community compared to the 2015 Rule. Revisions to the selenium limits, relaxation of the zero discharge limitations of the 2015 Rule and a 2‑year compliance deadline extension are the primary sources of potential cost savings.

The proposed Rule was published in the Federal Register on November 22, 2019, and the comment period ends on January 21, 2020. An online public hearing is scheduled to be held December 19, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. EST.

While the 2019 Proposed Rule is generally viewed as advantageous to industry, it has resulted in strong criticism from other organizations. The primary criticism is the Proposed Rule will not require steam electric power plants to use the best available technology for wastewater treatment and, therefore, it will have minimal effects on discharge limits or concentrations. While the final publishing date and requirements of the Proposed Rule are still unknown (these two things will depend on public input received during the 60-day comment period) the initial reactions highlight the scrutiny being placed on the steam electric industry.

With the increased attention on this industry from outside organizations, it is imperative that compliance data (permitted discharge and Coal Combustion Residual Rule generated data) are of the highest quality and reliability. The Environmental Standards Geoscience and Chemistry professionals specialize in ensuring clients make their important decisions based on reliable, high-quality field and analytical data.

Jacob Gruzalski

Principal Geoscientist

For more information you can reach him at