The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act


EPA Proposal to Regulate the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs) 


On June 21, 2010, the EPA proposed, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to regulate coal combustion residuals (CCRs) generated from the combustion of coal at electric utilities and independent power producers to address risks from the disposal of CCRs in surface impoundments and landfills.

The EPA sought public comments on two regulatory approaches. 

  • One proposed option would be to list these residuals as "special wastes," and draws from remedies available under Subtitle C of RCRA, which creates a comprehensive program of federally enforceable requirements for waste management and disposal.

  • The other proposed option included remedies under Subtitle D of RCRA, which gives the EPA authority to set disposal standards for waste management facilities.


Under both options, the EPA proposed not to regulate the beneficial use of CCRs, such as its use in concrete. In addition, this rule did not address CCRs generated from non-utility boilers burning coal, nor would it address the placement of coal combustion residuals in mines or non-minefill uses of CCRs at coal mine sites. Since the publication of the proposed rule, EPA has issued three Notices of Data Availability (NODAs) seeking public comment on additional data and information obtained by the EPA.


In the most recent NODA, issued on August 2, 2013, the EPA invited comment on additional information to supplement the Regulatory Impact Analysis and risk assessment; information on large scale fill; and data on the surface impoundment structural integrity assessments. With this NODA, the EPA also sought comment on two issues associated with the requirements for CCR management units, closure and the construction of new units over pre-existing CCR landfills and surface impoundments. Under a consent decree, a final rule must be signed no later than December 19, 2014.