Georgia Power meets or exceeds federal and state Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rules and environmental requirements as we work to generate reliable and affordable energy for 2,672,926 customers across the state. Compliance is just one important element of our longstanding commitment to meet the energy needs of Georgia and take care of the state we all call home.
Georgia Power is committed to protecting the environment, water quality, and our surrounding communities. The safe and reliable operation of our plants is an important part of our continued commitment to our communities.
Georgia Power took early action to quickly and safely begin closing all of our ash ponds. Our priority is to protect water quality every step of the way.
Additionally, while Georgia Power currently recycles more than 85 percent of the coal ash we produce from current operations, the Company is also seeking to identify opportunities and maximize the value for the beneficial use of stored coal ash at its active and retired plants across the state. Opportunities for beneficial use of stored coal ash could help produce millions of tons of Portland cement, concrete and other products, which would also reduce the need for raw materials that would otherwise require extraction from the natural environment.
Georgia Power is committed to transparency throughout the ash pond closure and dewatering process. Our plans are discussed and evaluated through Georgia’s open and transparent regulatory process with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the Georgia Public Service Commission and can be viewed on our public website.
Our ash pond closure plans fully comply with the federal CCR rule as well as the more stringent requirements of Georgia’s state CCR rule.
The federal and state rules specify two approved methods for closing ash ponds: closure in place and closure by removal. Performance standards are provided by the rules for both options to ensure that either method is conducted in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. A team of environmental engineers, scientists, geologists and independent experts designed and developed a closure plan for each site according to federal and state regulations and based on pond size, location, geology and amount of material.
Georgia Power is permanently closing 29 ash ponds across Georgia. The federal and state rules specify two approved methods for closing ash ponds, closure in place and closure by removal, with performance standards to ensure both options are safe and protective of the environment.
A team of environmental engineers, scientists, geologists and independent experts determined the ash pond closure plan designed for each site according to federal and state regulations and based on pond size, location, geology and amount of material. Georgia Power’s closure plans consist of the two options outlined below: removing ash from ponds and using proven engineering methods to close others in place.
Georgia Power is completely removing the ash from 20 ponds. The ash from these ponds will either be relocated to a permitted lined landfill, consolidated with other ash ponds being closed in place, or recycled for beneficial use. More than 85 percent of the coal ash Georgia Power produces today is recycled for various uses such as Portland cement, concrete and cinder blocks.
Georgia Power’s remaining 9 ash ponds will be closed in place, meeting the performance standards specified in the federal and state CCR rules. Proven engineering methods and technologies that are designed to enhance protection of groundwater will be included in the closure design.
On April 17, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a final rule for management and disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs) from electric utilities.
Under Subpart D, 40 C.F.R. Part 257, the CCR rule establishes a comprehensive set of requirements for the safe disposal of CCR material generated from combustion of coal in electric power generation, commonly known as coal ash.
As Georgia Power closes its ash ponds, water in the ponds must be removed so the ash pond can either be excavated or closed in place using proven engineering methods and technologies. The water will be tested and comprehensively treated before either being discharged through a permitted outfall or used for plant processes. This treatment and removal activity is known as "dewatering". Throughout the dewatering process, we are committed to protecting water quality standards by meeting the requirements of the Effluent Limitations Guidelines Rule and its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits and detailed dewatering plans, as well as the (CCR) rules.
View plant specific documents for CCR rule compliance, groundwater monitoring, dewatering and ash pond closures.
On April 17, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final rule for Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) from Electric Utilities.
Under Subpart D, 40 C.F.R. Part 257, the CCR rule establishes a comprehensive set of requirements for the safe disposal of CCR material generated from combustion of coal in electric power generation, commonly known as coal ash. The CCR rule applies to owners and operators of new and existing landfills, and surface impoundments (commonly referred to as ash ponds), including lateral expansions of such units that dispose or otherwise engage in solid waste management of CCR generated from combustion of coal in electric power generation.
On November 22, 2016, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) amended the Georgia Rules for Solid Waste Management, 391-3-4-.10, to include comprehensive requirements for the disposal of CCR in landfills and surface impoundments at electric generating facilities regardless of their operational status or when the facility ceased producing electricity. The Georgia CCR rule required owners and operators of landfills and surface impoundments containing CCR to submit an application for a Solid Waste Handling Permit by November 22, 2018.
On January 10, 2020, the EPA released a notice of approval for Georgia EPD’s CCR permit program, as only the second approved state program in the country. On February 10, 2020, Georgia EPD’s CCR permit program was authorized by EPA to operate in lieu of the federal CCR Program. The Georgia EPD is now approved to regulate all actions to ensure ash pond closures are protective of the environment.
Each CCR unit will record compliance with rule requirements in the facility's operating record, notify the state as required, and maintain this publicly available website. These requirements help ensure transparency and provide citizens with the information about our CCR units.