Coal fired power plant operators can comply with Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) and the Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELG) Final Rules by considering both rules concurrently.

To engineer and construct a unified, cost-effective solution, this white paper presents comprehensive methodologies for optimizing a coal fired power station’s engineering efforts associated with ELG and CCR compliance. An abstract of the paper is provided below.

For more information on CCR and ELG compliance and what it means for the coal power industry, contact Assistant Engineering Manager David Weakley II, PE at 412.476.2000.


While both the Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) Rule and the Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELGs) were developed separately, there are several common elements shared between the two regulations. By considering both rules concurrently, a unified, cost-effective solution can be engineered and constructed. Implementation of CCR and ELG rules generally coincides with a facility’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit renewal schedule.

Optimizing a station’s water balance by increasing water reuse/recycle and eliminating or reducing unnecessary wastewater streams can greatly reduce the capital expenditure requirements of environmental projects for CCR and ELG compliance. Achieving a zero liquid discharge (ZLD) bottom ash transport water system can be coupled with other station initiatives such as CCR leachate management and cooling tower blowdown management. Managing CCR landfills with respect to reducing leachate quantity and improving water quality can have significant effects on overall station compliance. Ash pond reconstruction (retrofit) or replacement activities can be considered to figure into the station’s overall environmental compliance plan.  Retrofit projects considered are raising pond beds, relining, and footprint reduction while replacement projects could be geotubes, drag chains or tank based systems.

This paper discusses methods and approaches to optimizing a coal fired power station’s water balance, developing a ZLD system for bottom ash transport water, repurposing existing station ponds, and managing CCR solids. Additionally, this paper outlines cost-effective bottom ash management strategies that can be implemented to achieve regulatory compliance. By integrating engineering efforts associated with ELG and CCR compliance, capital project budgets can be greatly reduced.

Submitted for consideration in the 2017 World of Coal Ash Conference, May 9-11, 2017. 

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For related information, check out the following blog posts:


Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELGs), Part I: Compliance Check | December 15, 2015

Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELGs), Part II: Compliance Resources | February 9, 2016

Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELGs), Part III: Importance of the Power Station Water Balance | March 8, 2016

Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELGs), Part IV: Zero Liquid Discharge — Bottom Ash Transport Water | April 14, 2016

Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELGs), Part V: Flue Gas Desulferization (FGD) wastewater |  July 14, 2016

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