Power Plant Effluent Limits

The Environmental & Energy Law Program is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following

Current Status

Industry groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the original rule, but the Trump EPA delayed compliance deadlines of major portions of the rule by 2 years, to November 2020. The initial challenge by industry groups to the Obama EPA rule has been stayed. Meanwhile, environmental and public health groups have filed lawsuits over EPA’s delays.

Why It Matters

Steam power plant wastewater discharges include arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, chromium, and cadmium. Regulations for power plant discharges to surface waters were last updated in 1982 and did not focus on these toxic metals. Over the past 30 years, steam power plants – particularly coal-fired power plants – have begun generating new wastewater streams containing these pollutants, from installation and operation of air pollution control equipment and from gasification of coal.

Click here learn more about the history of this rule and actions that have been taken on it by the Trump Administration.


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