EPA Guides Electric Utilities on Chemical Reporting Duties

By Pat Rizzuto

April 29 — The Environmental Protection Agency has released a fact sheet to help electric utilities understand their obligations to report details on chemicals they manufacture.

The Chemical Data Reporting rule (CDR) submissions that utilities may be required to file are due between June 1 and Sept. 30.

Carolyn Slaughter, director of environmental policy for the American Public Power Association, told Bloomberg BNA by e-mail: “The reporting obligation typically affects utilities that operate coal-fired plants that produce byproducts such as coal ash, fly ash and flue gas emission control materials.”

Ammonia, gypsum byproducts and regenerated thiosulfates are also among the chemicals that electric power utilities can generate that may be subject to CDR requirements, the EPA said in guidance posted April 28.

The guidance is the latest in a series of nine “fact sheets” the agency has issued since January.

Slaughter said “any guidance EPA offers is helpful to the industry. The last reporting period was in 2012, so there have been some changes in the reporting requirement; we are still evaluating to determine the impact.”

Koch Industries Inc., the Ohio Valley Electric Corp., the U.S. Tennessee Valley Authority and Xcel Energy Inc. were among the electric utilities that filed chemical data reports in 2012.

Chemicals Must Provide Commercial Advantage

As they generate electricity, utilities can generate byproducts, chemicals that can be used to make other chemicals, or “intermediates” and wastes, EPA's fact sheet said.

Such materials may be subject to CDR it provides the utility a commercial advantage, EPA said.

For example, ashes contain elements including calcium, iron, potassium, titanium and vanadium. Some of these materials may be used to make concrete or roofing materials, the agency said.

Ammonia may be used to remove nitrogen oxide from flue gas; and gypsum byproducts may be used to make wallboard, EPA said.

The CDR requires companies that made more than 25,000 pounds of any reportable chemical in 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015 to file production volume, processing, use and other information.

The reporting threshold drops to 2,500 pounds if a chemical is subject to certain Toxic Substances Control Act regulations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto in Washington at prizzuto@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com