Water Well Journal

February 2015

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/451364

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 75

Industry NEWSLINE EPA Releases Long-Awaited Final Rule Regulating CCRs T he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its final rule on December 19, 2014 regulating the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCRs) like fly ash, slag, and bottom ash from power plants. The rulemaking process was initiated in 2009, following the failure of a coal ash impoundment in Kingston, Ten- nessee, and places an emphasis on the prevention of surface water and ground- water contamination. The final rule clas- sifies CCRs as an industrial solid waste rather than a hazardous material and es- tablishes federal minimum criteria for disposal of CCRs in landfills or surface impoundments (CCR sites). In addition, the final rule contains several protec- tions for groundwater. First, groundwater monitoring will be required as part of a system for dispos- ing of CCRs. Owners or operators of a CCR site must install a system of wells for monitoring the presence of haz- ardous contaminants potentially present and take corrective action throughout the active life and post-closure period of the CCR site, when needed. They must also establish a system for data collec- tion with the understanding that ground- water monitoring data will be published annually. In addition to monitoring, the final rule also restricts use, location, and de- sign of impoundments. Following the Kingston disaster, the EPA initiated an inspection of all 559 impoundments across the country in consultation with professional engineers, trade organiza- tions, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Those CCR sites deemed unsafe will be closed to prevent surface water or groundwater contami- nation. Locations of the CCR sites will also face new restrictions, prohibiting them from being located above the up- permost aquifer. These restrictions will apply not only to new sites, but also to expansion of existing sites. CCR sites will also be subject to new liner require- ments to prevent contamination of groundwater. Finalization of the rule comes after years of debate between Capitol Hill and the White House on the issue, and Congressional action related to the rule can be expected in 2015. Congressional leaders point to several outstanding questions about the rule and environ- mental groups are concerned the rule does not do enough to protect natural resources. NGWA will continue to monitor the rulemaking process. For more information on the rule, visit www2.epa.gov/coalash/coal-ash- rule, or contact Lauren Schapker, NGWA government affairs director, at (202) 888-9151 or lschapker@ngwa.org. NGWA Supports Water Supply Cost Savings Act There were 229,237 farms with 55.3 million irrigated acres in the United States, according to the 2013 Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey results, published November 13 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. NGWA announced it supports in spirit and effort, as well as with finan- cial resources, the Water Supply Cost Savings Act, which, when adopted, is intended to reduce federal, state, and local costs of providing drinking water to Americans residing in rural commu- nities by facilitating greater use of cost- effective water well systems. In order to help NGWA members and the general public gain a better under- standing of the intentions of this bill, the Association created a Q&A at www .ngwa.org/Advocacy-Awareness/Pages/ Water-Supply-Cost-Savings-Act.aspx. 8 February 2015 WWJ waterwelljournal.com With just hours before a government shutdown in 2014, the U.S. Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending package for the remainder of fiscal year 2015. Contained within the package was $2.6 million to fund the critical implementa- tion of the National Ground-Water Monitoring Network. The funding will allow the U.S. Geological Survey to provide cost-share grants to states in the form of coopera- tive agreements to upgrade monitoring networks to national standards and to incorporate wells into the network. In addition, this funding will also support the additional work by the USGS to manage the network and provide data access to the public through an Internet web portal. The National Ground Water Associa- tion led the effort with allied associa- tions and coalition members to obtain funding for the network, which is a sig- nificant achievement for NGWA and its members. The network, which would rely on states to collect and report moni- toring data, would generate a compre- hensive picture of the resource on a national scale. This has never been done before. NGWA CEO Kevin McCray, CAE, notes, "This funding is the result of nearly a decade-long effort led by NGWA to raise awareness of the critical role groundwater plays as a natural re- source through the implementation of a nationwide monitoring network." The National Ground-Water Monitor- ing Network will allow those at the USGS and interested parties across the country to have access to data via an online portal, enabling a greater under- standing of groundwater resources on a national scale. With increased pressure on water resources, particularly in the West, the implementation of the net- work will help ensure groundwater sup- plies are managed across the country in order to continue the use of water wells as a source of safe drinking water for millions of Americans. NGWA and its partners are working on ensuring continued funding for the groundwater monitoring network. For more information on the network and the portal, visit http://cida.usgs.gov/ ngwmn. For more information about the net- work, contact Lauren Schapker, NGWA government affairs director, at (202) 888-9151 or lschapker@ngwa.org. NGWA Helps Achieve $2.6 Million for Ground-Water Monitoring Network NEWS continues on page 10

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Water Well Journal - February 2015