On June 28, EPA proposed to partially approve Georgia’s coal combustion residuals (CCR) state permit program.  If finalized, Georgia’s program will become the second to receive EPA’s approval and will operate in place of the federal CCR requirements.

In its proposal, EPA determined that—with the exception of four provisions—Georgia’s program meets the standard for EPA approval.  EPA proposed to partially approve Georgia’s program since it does not incorporate certain endangered species provisions and because it includes now-vacated provisions that exclude inactive surface impoundments at inactive facilities from regulation, allow unlined surface impoundments to continue receiving CCR unless they leak, and classify clay-lined surface impoundments as lined.  Georgia’s CCR rule has not been revised to reflect the vacatur of these provisions because EPA has not yet finalized those changes at the federal level.  EPA plans to issue proposals to address these topics in 2019.  Once finalized, Georgia EPD can amend its regulations to align with EPA’s changes and then apply for approval of those amendments at a later date.

From a technical standpoint, EPA’s partial approval means that facilities in Georgia must comply with the applicable federal requirements related to endangered species and with EPA’s requirements for the vacated topics once EPA establishes them.  EPA notes in the proposal, however, that the partial nature of its approval will have little practical effect since Georgia’s CCR rule already regulates inactive surface impoundments at inactive facilities, no clay-lined impoundments are located in Georgia, and all of Georgia’s unlined impoundments are scheduled to stop receiving CCR by 2020.

Public comments regarding this proposal may be submitted to EPA until August 27, 2019.  EPA will also hold a public hearing on its proposal at the Georgia EPD Tradeport Training Room on August 6, 2019.  For more information regarding EPA’s proposal or other CCR-related issues, please contact Holly Hill, Karlie Webb, or Buck Dixon.