Coal Combustion Residual Surface Impoundments

Draft Rules for Coal Combustion Residual Surface Impoundments


​On July 30, 2019, Governor JB Pritzker signed an amendment to the Illinois Environmental Protection Act requiring additional protections on coal combustion residual (“CCR”) surface impoundments (also known as coal ash ponds). CCR surface impoundments contain fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas desulfurization materials generated from burning coal for the purpose of generating electricity by electric utilities and independent power producers.

This amendment provides clear guidelines for how CCR surface impoundments are built, operated, and closed. Further, the amendment requires CCR surface impoundments to be monitored for groundwater contamination and remediated when necessary to achieve compliance. The amendment requires owners of CCR surface impoundments to provide financial assurance to cover closure and cleanup costs. The amendment also provides for public participation regarding the closure and cleanup of CCR surface impoundments.

The amendment requires the Illinois EPA to file a CCR rule with the Illinois Pollution Control Board no later than March 30, 2020. The Illinois Pollution Control Board must then adopt a final CCR rule within 12 months of the Illinois EPA’s filing.

The final CCR rule must:

  1. be at least as protective and comprehensive as the federal regulations or amendments thereto promulgated by the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Subpart D of 40 CFR 257 governing CCR surface impoundments;
  2. specify the minimum contents of CCR surface impoundment construction and operating permit applications, including the closure alternatives analysis;
  3. specify which types of permits include requirements for closure, post-closure, remediation and all other requirements applicable to CCR surface impoundments;
  4. specify when permit applications for existing CCR surface impoundments must be submitted, taking into consideration whether the CCR surface impoundment must close under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA);
  5. specify standards for review and approval by the Agency of CCR surface impoundment permit applications; 
  6. specify meaningful public participation procedures for the issuance of CCR surface impoundment construction and operating permits, including, but not limited to, public notice of the submission of permit applications, an opportunity for the submission of public comments, an opportunity for a public hearing prior to permit issuance, and a summary and response of the comments prepared by the Agency;
  7. prescribe the type and amount of the performance bonds or other securities required under subsection (f), and the conditions under which the State is entitled to collect moneys from such performance bonds or other securities;
  8. specify a procedure to identify areas of environmental justice concern in relation to CCR surface impoundments;
  9. specify a method to prioritize CCR surface impoundments required to close under RCRA if not otherwise specified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, so that the CCR surface impoundments with the highest risk to public health and the environment, and areas of environmental justice concern are given first priority;
  10. define when complete removal of CCR is achieved and specify the standards for responsible removal of CCR from CCR surface impoundments, including, but not limited to, dust controls and the protection of adjacent surface water and groundwater; and
  11. describe the process and standards for identifying a specific alternative source of groundwater pollution when the owner or operator of the CCR surface impoundment believes that groundwater contamination on the site is not from the CCR surface impoundment.

Ash Pond Map

Clink on the link to view a map of CCR surface impoundments in Illinois.

Note: The link will not work with the Microsoft Edge browser.  

Public Outreach

Prior to the development of a draft rule, the Illinois EPA will host listening sessions to receive public input. Each listening session will run from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The listening session dates and locations are listed below. After developing a draft rule, prior to submission to the Illinois Pollution Control Board, the Agency will make the draft rule public and solicit public input on the draft.  After consideration of public input, the Agency will submit the draft rule to the Board, which will hold public input and hearings on the proposed rule.

PeoriaSeptember 10, 2019

Gateway Building
200 Northeast Water Street

2 pm to 4 pm &
6 pm to 8 pm

Granite CitySeptember 11, 2019

Granite City Township Hall
2060A Delmar Avenue

2 pm to 4 pm &
6 pm to 8 pm

DanvilleSeptember 17, 2019

Bremer Auditorium
2000 E. Main Street

2 pm to 4 pm &
6 pm to 8 pm

WebinarSeptember 24, 2019Web login,

Meeting Number: 806 033 794
Password: EAFnxE68
10 am
Mt. VernonSeptember 26, 2019 

Rolland Lewis Community Building

800 S 27th Street

2 pm to 4 pm &
6 pm to 8 pm

​Springfield​October 1, 2019

​Zion Missionary Baptist Church

1601 E. Laurel Street

​6 pm to 8 pm
JolietOctober 8, 2019

Joliet Jr. College
Weitendorf Agriculture Center
17840 Laraway Road

2 pm to 4 pm &
6 pm to 8 pm

WaukeganOctober 9, 2019

Whittier Elementary School
901 N. Lewis Avenue

2 pm to 4 pm &
6 pm to 8 pm


Written Comments

Written comments may be submitted to the Illinois EPA at any time while the proposed rules are being drafted for submittal to the Illinois Pollution Control Board. Please direct all written comments to:

Planned Rulemaking Timeline

July 30, 2019: The amendment to the Illinois Environmental Protection Act was signed.
September & October 2019: Listening sessions for public input.
November 2019 – December 2019: Public release of a draft rule and solicitation of public comment.
March 2020: Illinois EPA proposes CCR rule to the Illinois Pollution Control Board. 


Public Act 101-171
Illinois Pollution Control Board
USEPA Federal CCR Page
40 CFR 257