SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

SACE responds to EPA’s Effluent Limitation Guidelines


EPA’s new guidelines will require dry handling for fly and bottom coal ash

Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865.235.1448,


Knoxville, Tenn. – Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the long-awaited Steam Electric Power Generating Effluent Guidelines designed to limit toxic, liquid discharges from power plants into rivers and waterways across the U.S.

Coal-burning power plants are the largest source of toxic water pollution in the country. For decades these plants have had a “free pass” to dump toxic wastewater, primarily from coal ash, into our rivers, lakes, and bays.

Coal ash, the toxic byproduct from burning coal to fuel power plants, contains arsenic, mercury, and lead and poses serious risks to human health and the health of the environment. Throughout the Southeast, coal ash is stored in nearly 450 impoundments with the combined capacity to hold over 118 billion gallons of waste. Many of these impoundments are earthen, built along the banks of our rivers and waterways, and known to be leaking into groundwater and surrounding surface water.

In response to yesterday’s announcement, Adam Reaves, High Risk Energy Coordinator for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, made this statement:

“From our initial reading of the rule, dry handling will be required for both fly and bottom coal ash. This is an important step in the right direction and could reduce the serious risks that coal ash poses to both human health and the health of rivers and waterways in the Southeast.

As more and more of the true financial, health, and environmental costs of pollution from burning coal are factored in, we hope utilities in our region will recognize that renewable energy and energy efficiency are the smart and economical path forward.”


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Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of global climate change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at