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Regulatory Development and Retrospective Review Tracker

Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category

a.k.a. Steam Electric ELG

RIN: 2040-AF14 (What's this?)

Docket No.: EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0819 (What's this?)

Current Phase: Proposal (What's this?)

The EPA establishes national technology-based regulations, called effluent limitations guidelines and standards, to reduce discharges of pollutants from industries to waters of the U.S. These requirements are incorporated into National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permits issued by the EPA and states and through the national pretreatment program.

The steam electric effluent limitations guidelines and standards apply to steam electric power plants using nuclear or fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas. There are about 1,200 nuclear- and fossil-fueled steam electric power plants nationwide; approximately 500 of these power plants are coal-fired. In a study completed in 2009, EPA found that the current regulations, which were last updated in 1982, do not adequately address the pollutants being discharged and have not kept pace with changes that have occurred in the electric power industry over the last three decades. The rulemaking may address discharges associated with coal ash waste and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) air pollution controls, as well as other power plant waste streams. Power plant discharges can have major impacts on water quality, including reduced organism abundance and species diversity, contamination of drinking water sources, and contamination of fish. Pollutants of concern include metals (e.g., mercury, arsenic and selenium), nutrients, and total dissolved solids. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on June 7, 2013 ("Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category, " 78 FR 34431).

NPRM: Sent to OMB for Regulatory Review01/14/2013
NPRM: Received by OMB01/15/2013
NPRM: Regulatory Review Concluded04/19/2013
NPRM: Published in FR06/07/2013
NPRM: Public Meeting07/09/2013
NPRM: Comment Period Extension Published in FR07/12/2013
NPRM: Comment Period Closed with Extension09/20/2013
Final Rule: Sent to OMB for Regulatory Review07/02/2015
Final Rule: Received by OMB07/02/2015
Final Rule: Regulatory Review Concluded09/29/2015
Final Rule: Published in FR10/2015 (projected)

Potential Effects

Children's Health
This rule is likely to address an adverse impact on childhood lifestages, including prenatal (via exposure to women of childbearing age). The potential adverse impacts are expected to be due to toxicity (i.e., the developing fetus, infants, and/or children are more likely to have an adverse response than adult lifestages).

Environmental Justice
This rulemaking involves a topic that is likely to be of particular interest to or have particular impact upon minority, low-income, tribal, and/or other vulnerable populations because:

  • This topic is likely to impact the environmental conditions of vulnerable populations.

Federal Government - other agencies
Likely to be regulated by this rule.
Likely to be involved in the implementation of this rule.

This rulemaking is likely to have federalism implications, as defined by E.O. 13132.

Local Governments
Likely to be regulated by this rule.
Likely to be involved in the implementation of this rule.

Small Entities
EPA notifies the public when a rulemaking is likely to 1) have any adverse economic impact on small entities even though a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis may not be required and/or 2) have significant adverse economic impacts on a substantial number of small entities. The term "small entities" includes small businesses, small governments, and small not-for-profits. (Read a longer explanation on our Small Entities web page.) This rulemaking is likely to impact small entities in the following way(s):
  • Likely to have any adverse economic impact on:
    • small businesses
    • small governments

In addition, small governments are:

  • Likely to be regulated by this rule.

State Governments
Likely to be regulated by this rule.
Likely to be involved in the implementation of this rule.

Unfunded Mandates
This action may place unfunded mandates on state, local, and/or tribal governments and on the private sector. It is subject to Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

Participate / Learn More Regulatory Review

Some of EPA's rulemakings undergo regulatory review (What's this?), as prescribed by Executive Order 12866 and coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The following list describes which of this rulemaking's stages have completed review and published in the Federal Register, if any, and provides links to the review documents where available. Consult the "Timeline" section of this Web page for the dates of each review.

  • NPRM - No Information Available.
  • Final Rule - This stage of the rulemaking underwent review.
Citations & Authorities

Federal Register Citations

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Citation
40 CFR 423 revision

Legal Authority
33 USC 1311;33 USC 1314;33 USC 1316;33 USC 1317;33 USC 1318;33 USC 1342;33 USC 1361


This site provides summaries of priority rulemakings and priority retrospective reviews of existing regulations. We update most of the site at the beginning of each month, though some data is updated more frequently if it is time sensitive. The information on this site is not intended to and does not commit EPA to specific conclusions or actions. For example, after further analysis, EPA may decide the effects of a rule would be different or it may decide to terminate a rulemaking.

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