CCR Rule Compliance Data & Information
AEP is committed to being a good neighbor and operating our facilities in a way that meets or exceeds all regulations and protects public safety and health. This includes operating in full compliance with the EPA’s Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule and any state CCR rules. CCR rules establish new requirements for how we handle and store CCRs at our power plants. CCRs are the materials that are left over after coal is burned to make electricity.
The 2015 Coal Combustion Residual (CCR) rule established location restrictions for CCR storage sites. It requires that storage site locations be evaluated regarding proximity to
- Groundwater aquifers,
- Fault areas,
- Seismic zones and
- Unstable areas (example: presence of quicksand).
AEP completed location restriction reviews for 29 CCR storage sites at 12 power plants. We identified that seven of these storage sites are separated from the uppermost aquifer by less than the five feet specified by the rule. These sites meet the other four restrictions.
We will stop placing CCR material in these storage sites and will begin closure activities by Oct. 31, 2020, or we will abide by delayed closure provisions outlined in the rule.
Groundwater Monitoring & Assessment
While AEP previously has monitored groundwater at many of our CCR storage sites, the CCR rule created new requirements. We completed initial groundwater testing in 2017. We are doing additional monitoring and evaluations during 2018.
AEP installed more than 300 new wells to better monitor the quality of groundwater at our plants. AEP used multiple groundwater samples from each well to establish a baseline for 21 substances, many of which naturally occur in groundwater.
The initial sampling data show potential groundwater impacts at some of the CCR sites. The fact that one or more groundwater samples may show higher concentrations of some substances at the site does not mean that the drinking water in the surrounding area is impacted or unsafe. There is still a lot left to learn.
We proactively met with plant neighbors and community leaders to answer questions about the data collected so far and to discuss next steps.
Additional information, including the actual groundwater monitoring data and statistical analysis of the data, can be found on the individual plant pages below.
It’s important to remember that samples so far have been taken very close to the ash storage sites where any groundwater impacts would be most significant. Additional monitoring and analysis will help us determine if there are areas where groundwater outside the immediate site is being affected and if any impacts are coming from the CCR storage site.
Alternate Source Reviews
Independent third parties completed Alternate Source Reviews for 22 CCR storage sites at 10 power plants. The purpose of these reviews is to determine whether there are factors other than the CCR storage site that may be affecting groundwater quality. This review process found alternate sources for groundwater impacts at seven of the CCR storage sites.
AEP has begun assessment monitoring at 15 CCR storage sites where no alternate sources were identified. Assessment monitoring looks at levels of up to 21 substances before and after the groundwater passes the CCR storage sites.
With external experts, AEP will analyze assessment monitoring results by January 2019. If it is determined that changes in water quality are coming from one of our CCR storage sites, we will implement a mitigation plan specific to that site. Plans could include closure of the storage site. This process will include the opportunity for public input.
AEP will continue to monitor the levels of seven “indicator” substances at nine CCR storage sites. We will use this information to determine any need for additional monitoring.
AEP will publish all assessment and detection monitoring data in its next annual groundwater report in early 2019.
As of March 1, 2018, AEP Generation Resources Inc. no longer operates Cardinal Plant. Going forward, CCR-related compliance documents will be posted and maintained on the publicly available website of Ohio Electric Cooperatives – Buckeye Power.
As of January 30, 2017, AEP Generation Resources Inc. no longer owns or operates Gavin Plant. CCR-related compliance documents are posted and maintained on the publicly available website of Gavin Power, LLC.