Effluent limits for power plants placed on hold

EPA will reconsider ELG rule

Posted April 17, 2017

EPA has placed a hold on the rule that limits levels of toxic metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury, and chromium in wastewater discharged from power plants. On April 13, 2017, EPA announced it would review and reconsider the 2015 final rule that amends the effluent limitations guidelines and standards for the stream electric power generating category under the Clean Water Act (ELG Rule). The rule created the first federal limits on these contaminants.

While the estimated costs for implementing the final rule were $480 million, EPA says the rule has a reported average cost of $1.2 billion per year during the first five years of compliance.

After court challenges and petitions requests to EPA for a review of rule, EPA issued an administrative stay placing the rule on hold. EPA plans to send a letter notifying petitioners that the rule is on hold and under review. The Agency also sent a letter to the states reminding them of flexibilities available to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting authorities under the final rule.

The compliance dates for certain limitations and standards in the ELG Rule do not occur until November 1, 2018; however, EPA placed the rule on hold now because facilities would have to begin making capital expenditures to meet the more stringent requirements in the rule by the 2018 deadline.


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