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On April 17, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated national minimum criteria for existing and new coal combustion residuals (CCR) landfills and existing and new CCR surface impoundments. With the most recent rulemaking, EPA is finalizing certain revisions to this criteria. As part of the revisions, EPA is allowing states with approved CCR programs under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN), or EPA where EPA is the permitting authority, the ability to use the following alternative performance standards:

  • Suspend groundwater monitoring requirements if there is evidence that there is not potential for migrations of hazardous constituents to the uppermost aquifer during the active life of the unit and post-closure care; and
  • Issue technical certifications in lieu of the current requirement to have professional engineers issue certification.

EPA is also finalizing a revision of the groundwater protection standards (GWPS) for the four constituents which do not have an established Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) in Appendix IV to 40 CFR Part 257.

Lastly, EPA is adopting revisions to the deadlines for the following instances, in order to provide facilities, which are triggered into closure by the regulations, additional time to cease receiving waste and initiate closure:

  • Where a facility has detected a statistically significant increase from an unlined surface impoundment above the GWPS; and
  • Where a unit is unable to comply with the aquifer location restriction.

The revisions to the CCR rule will become effective on August 29, 2018. The revisions as listed in the Federal Register can be found online here.