This past November, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed revisions to the Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) Rule (40 CFR 257) that address many concerns of coal users by encouraging the beneficial use CCRs, tweaking to compliance deadlines, making adjustments to the permit programs, and revising the lined impoundments definition.

Specifically, the November proposal…

• establishes a new date of August 31, 2020 for facilities to stop placing waste into unlined surface impoundments.

• revises the alternate closure provisions that would allow certain facilities additional time to develop alternate capacity to manage their waste streams.

• changes the classification of compacted-soil lined or “clay-lined” surface impoundments from “lined” to “unlined” which means that formerly defined clay-lined surface impoundments would no longer be considered lined units. More impoundments will now fall within the scope of the obligation to stop use and either retrofit or close the impoundments.

• does not change the majority of the CCR rule so it remains operational, including the ongoing requirement for groundwater monitoring and public disclosure of data.

• establishes specific criteria for what utilities will need to submit to obtain the extension and measures for public transparency for both the basis for extension and progress to reach closure.

Key Dates You Should Know

Proposed Compliance Deadline for CCR Surface Impoundments Deadline Date
New cease of waste deadline for unlined and formerly clay-lined surface impoundments August 31, 2020
New cease of waste deadline for surface impoundments that failed the minimum depth to aquifer location standard  

August 31, 2020

New short term alternative to initiation of closure (up to a 3 month extension to cease receipt of waste deadline) No later than November 30, 2020
New site-specific alternative to initiation of closure due to lack of capacity No later than October 15, 2023
New site-specific alternative to initiation of closure due to permanent cessation of coal-fired boilers by a date certain for surface impoundments 40 acres or smaller  

No later than October 17, 2023

New site-specific alternative to initiation of closure due to permanent cessation of coal-fired boilers by a date certain for surface impoundments larger than 40 acres  

No later than October 17, 2028


Owners and operators of impoundments that contain CCR waste should promptly determine whether the proposed amendments will trigger any compliance concerns and begin the process now to prepare the necessary evidence to apply for any extensions. All stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment and to participate in a virtual public meeting on the proposal in early January. Regardless of the outcome of the final revisions to the cease of receipt of waste deadline, owners and operators of CCR impoundments have ongoing compliance obligations and potential for liability.

The EPA is soliciting comments in a 60-day comment period (ending January 31, 2020), during which a virtual public hearing will be held in early January for interested persons to present information, comments or views concerning these proposed changes.

Because you are a trusted client, we thought you should know!

CDG Engineers is a full service engineering firm with a large number of CCR compliance projects for electric utility companies across the US. Please contact us should you have any questions about your specific application and let us help. For more detailed information regarding our qualifications, visit us at