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October 09, 2013
Industry responds to proposed steam electric ELGs
By Amanda Czepiel, JD, Senior Managing Editor

In her presentation, “Impacts of Proposed Revised Steam Electric Effluent Guidelines” at this year’s Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in Chicago, Donna Hill, the Water Program Director at Water Southern Company Services, Inc. didn’t mince words about how industry views EPA’s job of developing the guidelines.

According to Hill, they based the proposed guidelines on “very limited data and didn’t represent the industry as a whole.”

The proposed guidelines would affect 1,200 facilities nationwide, and would establish new or additional requirements for wastewater streams from the following processes and by-products associated with steam electric power generation:

  • Flue gas desulfurization
  • Fly ash
  • Bottom ash
  • Flue gas mercury control, and
  • Gasification of such fuels as coal and petroleum coke

Hill has prepared many comments on the guidelines, and her concerns, which were echoed by industry attendees in the session, are that EPA’s statistical analysis is flawed because the agency selected unrepresentative data, only using sampling from two facilities, and that even if a facility installs the recommended technology to achieve the new limits, there is no guarantee that those limits will be met.

Comments on the proposed guidelines were due on September 20, 2013, and the guidelines are scheduled to be finalized on May 22, 2014. However, Hill believes that the EPA will not meet this deadline even though it is required under a court order, and that we should expect the final regulations at the end of 2014 or at the beginning of 2015.

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