Georgia Power meets or exceeds federal and state Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rules and environmental requirements as it works to generate reliable and affordable energy for 2.6 million customers across the state. Compliance is just one important element of the company’s 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 its ash ponds and 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 it produces from current operations, the company is seeking to identify opportunities for the beneficial reuse of stored coal ash. Opportunities for beneficial reuse 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. From this, Georgia Power has developed an ash beneficial use research center, located at Plant Bowen.
Georgia Power is committed to transparency throughout the ash pond closure and dewatering process. The company’s plans are discussed and evaluated through Georgia’s open and transparent regulatory process with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Public Service Commission, and can be viewed on our public website.
Georgia Power’s 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 safe and protective of the environment. A team of environmental engineers, scientists, geologists and independent experts designed and developed an ash pond 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 correct 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 is completely removing the ash from 20 ponds located adjacent to lakes or rivers where proven engineering methods, such as the installation of impermeable barriers designed to enhance the protection of groundwater around the closed ash pond, may not be feasible. The ash from these ponds will either be relocated to a permitted lined landfill, consolidated with other ash ponds 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 (EPA) released the final rule for Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System 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 reused for plant processes. This treatment and removal activity is known as "dewatering". Throughout the dewatering process, the company is 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 Coal Combustion Residuals Rules.
View plant specific documents for CCR rule compliance, groundwater monitoring, dewatering and ash pond closures.