Coal Combustion Residual Surface Impoundments

The Illinois EPA will be holding a stakeholder meeting concerning the draft rules.  See the Illinois EPA's public notice page for details.

CCR Stakeholder Meeting
January 6, 2020 1:30p - 3:30p
WebEx Conference Call-in Information
WebEx Call-in link
Meeting Number ​805 067 652
Password  3m7628at

​The Illinois EPA has released draft rules containing standards for the storage and disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) in surface impoundments. The draft rules are available here: Draft Rules for Coal Combustion Residual Surface Impoundments

The draft rules create a new regulatory Part 845 in Title 35 of the Administrative Code. This Part will contain comprehensive rules for the design, construction, operation, groundwater monitoring, corrective action, closure and post-closure care of surface impoundments containing CCR. CCR is commonly referred to as coal ash, and CCR surface impoundments are commonly referred to 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.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency regulates the coal ash ponds under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and regulations found in 40 CFR Part 257, Subpart D. The federal standards for coal ash ponds do not currently include a permitting program. Illinois EPA's draft rules include both a permitting program and all the federal coal ash pond standards.  Illinois EPA's draft rules include numerous opportunities for public participation and require owners and operators of CCR surface impoundments to provide financial assurance. The draft rules also specify the required closure alternative analysis and closure prioritization mechanism.

The Illinois EPA has prepared these draft rules as a result of a statutory mandate found in Public Act 101-171 (commonly referred to as a SB09), which requires Illinois EPA to file the draft rules with the Illinois Pollution Control Board no later than March 30, 2020.

 

The final CCR rules 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 as financial assurance, 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

Click 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

In the fall of 2019, Illinois EPA conducted public outreach prior to releasing the draft rules. The Agency held an evening listening session in Springfield and an afternoon and evening listening session at each of the following locations: Peoria, Granite City, Danville, Mt. Vernon, Joliet, and Waukegan. The Illinois EPA considered all comments received at the listening sessions and in writing when preparing the draft regulations.

The Illinois EPA will hold a stakeholder meeting on January 6, 2020 at 1:30pm in Springfield, IL. The meeting notice is available here: CCR Stakeholder Meeting Notice

Written comments may be submitted by January 13, 2019. Please direct all written comments to EPA.CoalAshRules@illinois.gov

After consideration of all public comments, Illinois EPA will submit proposed rules to the Board, which will hold at least two public hearings on the proposed rules.

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 draft rules and solicitation of public comment.
March 2020: Illinois EPA proposes CCR rules to the Illinois Pollution Control Board. 

Links

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