Frequent Questions about Applicability of Other Regulations and Implementing the Final Rule Regulating the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR)

EPA has received many questions about implementing the final CCR rule. The Agency is developing responses to these questions and will be posting them to this Web page periodically.

The questions and responses fall under the category of applicability of other regulations (including tribal issues): 

  • A state has a CCR disposal facility that is located within a valley that was strip mined.  The facility is regulated under a state wastewater collection, storage or treatment system permit and an NPDES Permit. The state will continue to regulate the facility.  Will the CCR regulations apply to this site?

    If the facility is managing CCR in an active or inactive coal mine, it is not covered by the CCR rule.  Placement in active or inactive underground or surface coal mines will be addressed under regulations being developed by the Office of Surface Mining of the Department of the Interior.  However, placement of CCR or other management activities in any other mine would be considered to be disposal subject to the CCR requirements of part 257 unless the placement meets the criteria for defining beneficial use of CCR.

  • How will the rule be implemented on tribal lands (i.e., at CCR disposal facilities located on tribal lands) or are there any differences in implementation?

    The requirements of part 257 apply directly to the facilities regardless of whether the facility is on state or tribal lands, so there will be few differences.  Tribes, like states, can sue to enforce the rules by filing a citizen suit under RCRA 7002.  In cases where notification is required, facility owners/operators should notify the tribal authorities.  EPA's authority to oversee implementation of subtitle D regulations on tribal lands is limited; for example, EPA cannot approve a tribal Solid Waste Management Plan in the same manner as a state Solid Waste Management Plan, and therefore, compliance schedule adjustments under 4005(a) will not be available to facilities on tribal lands.

    EPA recognizes that there may be arrangements among tribal and state authorities and utility managers regarding oversight of utilities.  Utility managers should work within these arrangements on CCR rule implementation.

  • How do these "self-implementing" regulations fit within existing state permitting programs for these materials?

    How do these "self-implementing" regulations fit within existing state permitting programs for these materials?

    The CCR rule applies directly to the facilities, and the facilities must be in compliance with those standards on the effective date, irrespective of state requirements. States may choose to adopt the federal requirements into their existing program or to impose more stringent standards, but the federal rule does not itself affect states' permitting programs.  As part of their own programs under state law, states may choose to require permits for CCR disposal units, and may choose to adopt the federal requirements into their permits as permit conditions.  However, a facility must still comply with the CCR rule requirements, even if the state has issued a permit that contains less stringent conditions or requirements than those in the CCR rule.

When new implementation questions are posted, the Agency will identify them with a icon located next to the question. The complete list of questions and responses will also be updated each time new questions are posted.