Kentucky Division of Water issues two new Kentucky Pollution Discharge Elimination System General Permits for coal mining operations in Kentucky

On September 1, 2014, the Division of Water issued two Kentucky Pollution Discharge Elimination System (KPDES) general permits for coal mining in Kentucky in accordance with Section 402 of the Clean Water Act and corresponding regulations.

These two new general permits are KYGE40000 for coal mining operations in eastern Kentucky and KYGW40000 for coal mining operations in western Kentucky. These two general permits will become effective on October 1, 2014 and replace the general permit for Coal Mining (KYG04000) that expired on July 31, 2014.

Coal mining operations that are not eligible for coverage under these new general permits will be required to apply for and obtain an individual KPDES permit.

The Division of Water has worked with stakeholders and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop general permits that are protective of people’s health and the environment.

These two general permits for coal mining include several new, more protective permit requirements:

  • Limitations for Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) and selenium, including fish tissue testing requirements to check for compliance with water quality requirements for selenium.
  • All laboratory testing required to demonstrate compliance with the conditions of these permits are required to be performed by Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) certified wastewater laboratories.
  • In-stream biological monitoring and limitations.
  •  In-stream chemical trend analysis to evaluate the effect that a mining operation may be having on the receiving water.
  • Limitations for iron and manganese, and monitoring and reporting requirements for specific conductivity and sulfate.
  • Requirements to conduct adaptive management of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for effectiveness and implement modifications as a result of performance triggers for in-stream biological score, in-stream water quality trend analysis, and whole effluent toxicity results.

Additionally, these general permits are intended to facilitate resolution of EPAs objections to previously proposed permits for coal mining in 2010 and 2011.

The general permits also mandate the electronic submission of information to the agency including, Notice of Intent (NOI) for coverage under the applicable general permit and subsequent DMRs via EPAs NetDMR tool. This is the first time these new electronic processes are available for this KPDES permit sector.

New and expanded coal mining operations seeking coverage under these newly issued general permits are required to either submit an eNOI a minimum of 90 days prior to the commencement of discharge or apply for authorization under an individual permit. Existing operations currently permitted under the expired coal general permit seeking renewal of coverage under these newly issued general permits are required to submit an eNOI within 180 days of the effective date of the general permits. The division is finalizing the eNOI electronic process and will notify potential applicants as soon the eNOI process is fully available for use.

The division will be providing training to interested parties regarding the eNOI and application process. Additionally, NetDMR training will be provided at the eNOI trainings and on the division’s website. NetDMR Instructions are available at:  http://water.ky.gov/permitting/Pages/netDMRInformation.aspx. This site has step-by-step instructions and includes specific instructions for completing coal DMRs. Questions about the NetDMR process can be sent to netdmr@ky.gov.

Finally, in order to address concerns regarding the transparency of the NOI review process and to ensure that the public is aware of the division’s decisions regarding the review and consideration of NOIs submitted to the agency, DOW is modifying its process regarding public notification of the receipt of NOI’s and the issuance of coverages under these general permits.

DOW will provide email notifications of receipt of NOIs and final decisions on general permit coverages to all individuals on the division’s Public Notice listserv. Any person that wishes to be added to this listserv should send a request to DOWPublicNotice@ky.gov and their email will be added to the email listserv.

Additionally, DOW posts daily on the Department for Environmental Protection’s eSearch website all issuances of these general permit coverages. By selecting the AI Details link, an interested party can review the coverage letter, the electronic notice of intent (NOI), and other supporting data.

The general permits, fact sheets, response to comments, and Notice of Intent (NOI) documents can be found at:

Persons seeking more information on the coal general permits should contact Amy Van Horne at the Division of Water at (502)564-3410 or by email at Amy.Vanhorne@ky.gov.

Advertisements