Oct 30, 2013

EPA proposes revised steam electric power regulations - via @WaterWorldMag

Over the last century, steam electric power has become a predominant source of energy for a number of municipal and industrial applications in the United States and across the globe. It relies heavily on the use of both nuclear matter and fossil fuels to generate electricity and meets around 82 percent of the nation's energy needs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

However, this conventional form of power often produces wastewater effluent with high levels of contaminants, including metals and nutrients such as mercury, lead, zinc, nitrogen and phosphorus, aluminum, manganese, and 30 other similar pollutants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Further, EPA reports that "steam electric power plants contribute over half of all toxic pollutants discharged to surface waters by all industrial categories currently regulated in the United States under the Clean Water Act."

These contaminants have significantly contributed to a wide range of damaging effects to both public health and the environment, including a rise in cancer and neurological disorders, as well as harm to wildlife and aquatic life. Likewise, the EPA indicates that more than 160 waterbodies across the country are failing to meet state standards; roughly 185 have also been put under fish consumption advisories, and close to 400 potable water supply sources have been degraded as a result of uncontrolled steam electric power wastewater discharges.

To address these challenges, the EPA has proposed revised technology-based effluent regulations for the Steam Electric Power Generating category (40 CFR Part 423). The new rule aims to better control and strengthen primary waste streams at approximately 1,100 steam power plants across the U.S. to minimize wastewater discharges. The ruling would concentrate on available technologies that can replace or retrofit existing infrastructure.

In a free webinar hosted by the EPA in August to outline the organization's directive, Ron Jordan, project manager for the ruling, explained that "these technology-driven limits are intended to create a uniform set of requirements that are based on demonstrated technologies and processes."

Please continue reading By Art Haddaway, WaterWorld Editor EPA proposes revised steam electric power regulations | shared via feedly mobile