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EPA/OW RIN: 2040-AG23 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Supplemental Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category  

On March 29, 2023, EPA published a proposed rule to potentially strengthen the Steam Electric Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards (ELGs) (40 CFR 423). EPA previously revised the Steam Electric ELGs in 2015 and 2020. The proposed rule would establish more stringent ELGs for two waste streams addressed in the 2020 “Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule” (flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport water). In addition, the proposal would establish more stringent effluent limitations and standards for an additional waste stream (combustion residual leachate) and takes comment on potential revisions to limitations and standards for a fourth waste stream (legacy wastewater). The first two waste streams mentioned above are the subject of current litigation pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Appalachian Voices, et al. v. EPA, No. 20-2187 (4th Cir.). The 2015 limitations for combustion residual leachate and legacy wastewater discharged by existing sources were vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Southwestern Electric Power Co., et al. v. EPA, 920 F.3d 999 (5th Cir. 2019).

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Section 3(f)(1) Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 423   
Legal Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1361    33 U.S.C. 1318    33 U.S.C. 1317    33 U.S.C. 1316    33 U.S.C. 1311    33 U.S.C. 1314   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

Under Executive Order 13990 on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis (January 20, 2021), EPA was directed to review the 2020 Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Sections 101; 301; 304(b), (c), (e), and (g); 306; 307; 308 and 501, Clean Water Act (Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, as amended; 33 U.S.C. 1251; 1311; 1314(b), (c), (e), and (g); 1316; 1317; 1318 and 1361).


EPA considered four regulatory options at the proposed rule stage. Three alternatives varied in the stringency of limitations for flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport water while subcategorizing early adopters while the fourth option did not include this new subcategory. All four regulatory options removed the existing high flow and low utilization subcategories included in the 2020 final rule. For further information, visit:

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

At proposal, EPA estimated that the proposed rule will cost $200 million per year in social costs and result in $1,557 million per year in monetized benefits using a three percent discount rate and will cost $216 million per year in social costs and result in $1,290 million per year in monetized benefits using a seven percent discount rate.


At proposal, EPA estimated that the rule would reduce risks to human health and ecological receptors via multiple pathways including via air pollution, surface water contamination, and disinfection byproduct formation in drinking water systems.

Action Date FR Cite
Notice  08/03/2021  86 FR 41801   
NPRM  03/29/2023  88 FR 18824   
NPRM Comment Period End  05/30/2023 
Final Rule  04/00/2024 
Additional Information: EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0819.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State 
Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
Sectors Affected: 221112 Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Related RINs: Split from 2040-AG28 
Agency Contact:
Jesse Pritts
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Water
Mail Code 4303T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1038