Grand Tower Energy Center, LLC
This is a publicly accessible website for the Grand Tower Energy Center, LLC (GTEC) “Inactive Ash Basin” to provide information in accordance with Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) PART 257—CRITERIA FOR CLASSIFICATION OF SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL FACILITIES AND PRACTICES The GTEC Ash Basin is an “Inactive Ash Basin” and subject to Rule 257.100 as amended through June 2016.
On April 17, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published the Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System; Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities final rule in the Federal Register. This rule regulates the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) as a solid waste as part of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in 40 CFR Parts 257 and 261. This final rule applies to new and existing CCR landfills and CCR surface impoundments, and certain inactive CCR surface impoundments at coal-burning electric utility sites that are still producing electricity as of October 19, 2015. The CCR landfills and CCR surface impoundments in the rule are also referred to as “CCR units.” The rule requires that owners or operators of CCR units governed by the rule:
These requirements help ensure transparency and offer the public access to information about our CCR units. We will continue working with regulators to manage CCR units for our facilities, including those for which the final rule does not apply. The Grand Tower Energy Center, LLC (GTEC) ash basin is defined as an inactive ash basin since the basin has not received CCR materials following 2001. The original rule exempted inactive ash basins from the majority of requirements if the basin planned to close prior to April 2018. This portion of the Rule (257.100) was amended June 17, 2016 to include inactive ash basins in the regulatory requirements with a delayed compliance schedule.
The Grand Tower Energy Center, LLC (GTEC) has reportedly produced electricity since 1951 utilizing both coal and oil fired boilers prior to converting to natural gas in 2001. While operating coal fired boilers, GTEC developed a 21.7 acre coal combustion waste (CCW) impoundment for both fly ash and bottom ash residuals. The CCW impoundment has not received CCW materials since converting to natural gas in 2001. Current day, GTEC is a 478 Megawatt (MW) natural gas combined cycle facility that is located in Grand Tower, Illinois adjacent to the east bank of the Mississippi River. GTEC is located on 300 acres of land and is a merchant facility, which sells energy and capacity into the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) system.
Notification Of Intent To Close
In accordance with Rule 257.100(e)(1)(i); the owner or operator must have prepared and placed in the facility’s operating record by December 17, 2015, a notification of intent to initiate closure of the inactive CCR surface impoundment pursuant to § 257.105(i)(1). GTEC retained Environmental Resources Management (ERM) in October 2014 to begin evaluating closure options for the inactive ash basin. The first Technical Memorandum prepared by ERM evaluating the closure options moving forward was issued to GTEC on March 3, 2015 and placed in the Facility’s Operating Record. Following these activities, ERM returned to the site November 2015 to perform field exploratory activities to validate moving forward with “Close-In-Place” of the inactive ash basin. At this point ERM was engaging Illinois EPA on a regular basis to discuss planned activities and permitting required moving forward. In accordance with Rule 257.100(e)(1)(ii); the owner or operator must have provided notification to the State Director and/or appropriate Tribal authority by January 19, 2016, of the intent to initiate closure of the inactive CCR surface impoundment pursuant to § 257.106(i)(1) ERM and GTEC began conversations with Illinois EPA beginning with the planning of field exploratory activities in November 2015. At this time information was relayed to Illinois EPA that GTEC planned to close the inactive ash basin using a “Close-In-Place” method contingent upon results of exploratory work.
In accordance with Rule 257.100(e)(4)(iii); No later than April 18, 2017, initiate the inspections by a qualified person as set forth by § 257.83(a).
Weekly inspections are performed by site personnel. These inspections are specific to the ash basin and are in addition to other inspections conducted for various regulatory programs required at the facility. Environmental Resource Management (ERM) Engineers provided general information and inspection guidance to the facility for the development of the inspection program. Copies of the routine inspections are posted on a monthly basis and can be found by clicking on the links below.
In accordance with Rule 257.101(b)(3)(ii); No later than June 16, 2017, place on or immediately adjacent to the CCR unit the permanent identification marker as set forth by § 257.73(a)(1). The permanent marker sign was installed June 14, 2017 at the Inactive Ash Basin in accordance with Rule 257.73(a)(1). Inactive Ash Basin Sign
GTEC has begun the permitting process with Illinois EPA for the “Closure-In-Place” of the GTEC Inactive Ash Basin. The documents submitted to the IEPA are posted below and are also available on the IEPA website. The comment period for the application is open until November 1, 2019.
The IEPA issued a Notice of Coverage letter on 10/25/2019, with the determination that storm water discharges associated with industrial activity from the closure of the facility ash pond are covered under the General NPDES Permit. A copy of the NPDES General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Construction Site Activities is attached.