Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG)


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG) which focuses on managing industrial wastewater. Specifically, the ELG rule establishes standards for discharging pollutants from various industrial sources into water bodies to safeguard water quality and protect aquatic ecosystems.

Contact Us

Why is it important to coal-fired utilities?

Compliance with ELG regulations is imperative for coal-fired power plants, which rely heavily on water for their operations. Adhering to ELG standards requires non-compliant facilities to develop and implement robust water management strategies. Such strategies encompass a range of practices and technologies aimed at minimizing water use, treating wastewater effectively, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. In this context, having a comprehensive water management strategy is a regulatory obligation and a fundamental aspect of sustainable and responsible industrial operations.

> View Final EPA Rule

UCC Water Management Program

At UCC, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive water management program, which is thoughtfully designed to address every aspect of industrial wastewater regulations outlined by ELG. From groundwater to contact water, pore water, combustion residual leachate, flue gas desulfurization (FGD), and stormwater, as well as bottom ash transport water, each water stream must be meticulously monitored, treated, and managed to ensure compliance with stringent environmental standards. UCC’s commitment extends beyond mere regulatory compliance; it embodies a dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainability. Our holistic approach to water management for each of your facilities fulfills regulatory obligations through advanced site-specific treatment technologies, rigorous monitoring protocols, and proactive measures while upholding our responsibility to minimize the environmental impact and safeguard the integrity of local ecosystems and water resources.


Meeting the ELG Compliance Timeline

Navigating the compliance timeline outlined by the EPA’s ELG regulations demands precision and foresight. UCC understands that meeting these deadlines is essential for regulatory adherence and avoiding potential operational penalties or disruptions. Leveraging our expertise in environmental engineering and regulatory compliance, we provide tailored solutions to help ensure that our customers meet their obligations within the prescribed timeframe. From conducting comprehensive assessments to identify areas of improvement to implementing efficient treatment technologies and optimizing operational practices, we partner with customers to develop customized strategies that expedite the compliance process. By partnering with UCC, customers can be assured that their compliance needs will be on time, allowing them to focus on their core business activities with confidence.


Strategies for ZLD Compliance

Compliance with regulatory standards is achieved through a structured and proactive process. A defined strategy ensures legal adherence, shielding customers from potential fines, penalties, or complications arising from non-compliance. Additionally, a structured approach to compliance enhances operational efficiency by streamlining processes, reducing risks, and improving overall management practices. By prioritizing a comprehensive compliance strategy, customers can enjoy enhanced regulatory and operational benefits, positioning them for sustained growth and long-term success.

Understanding the Regulations and Compliance Deadlines

UCC will provide a clear understanding of the regulations and compliance deadlines to empower customers with the knowledge needed to effectively navigate regulatory requirements. Through detailed and transparent communication, we guide our customers in understanding the intricacies of compliance obligations and the implications for their operations. By presenting compliance deadlines in context with regulatory frameworks, we help our customers make informed decisions and develop tailored strategies to meet their obligations efficiently and proactively. We aim to ensure that customers understand the best way forward, allowing them to navigate compliance challenges with confidence and peace of mind.

Schedule Development

Project schedules are developed by leveraging UCC’s expertise in project management and industry-specific knowledge to meticulously plan and coordinate every aspect of the project lifecycle. Through a thorough analysis of project requirements, resource allocation, and potential risks, UCC will create a detailed schedule that accounts for all necessary tasks and milestones. Our approach emphasizes proactive problem-solving to ensure projects stay on track and deadlines are met. By prioritizing efficiency and flexibility, we adapt schedules to accommodate changes and optimize project outcomes. Our commitment to excellence in project scheduling ensures that customers receive reliable timelines and successful project delivery.

Piloting and Bench-Scale Testing

Piloting and bench-scale testing are integral steps in our technology selection process, enabling us to assess the performance and feasibility of various solutions before full-scale implementation. Through rigorous analysis, we evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and compatibility of potential technologies with our customer’s specific needs and operational requirements. Our commitment to thorough testing ensures that the technologies selected meet expectations and deliver optimal results for our customers.

Water Balance and Process Chemistry Optimization

Water balance and process chemistry optimization are fundamental to our ELG compliance approach. We meticulously analyze water usage, treatment processes, and chemical interactions to identify efficiency improvements and resource conservation opportunities. We optimize water usage and treatment processes through advanced modeling, monitoring, and analysis to minimize waste, reduce costs, and enhance environmental performance. Our holistic approach ensures that every aspect of water management is carefully optimized, leading to improved operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, and environmental stewardship.

EPC Turnkey Project Estimates

Our EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) turnkey project estimates offer customers comprehensive insights into the costs and timelines associated with their projects. Drawing upon our extensive experience in managing EPC projects across various industries, we meticulously assess all aspects of the project, including engineering design, procurement of materials and equipment, construction activities, and commissioning. By integrating these factors into our estimates, we provide customers with projections of the financial investment required and the project’s expected duration. Our commitment to transparency and precision ensures that customers have the information they need to make informed decisions and successfully execute their projects within budget and on schedule.

CAPEX and OPEX Projections

CAPEX and OPEX projections are created to provide customers with estimations of both capital expenditures and operational expenses associated with their ELG compliance projects. Leveraging our expertise, we analyze all relevant factors to develop comprehensive projections that account for equipment, materials, labor, maintenance, and other operational costs. By considering various scenarios and potential fluctuations, we ensure that our comprehensive projections enable customers to make informed financial decisions and effectively plan for the future.

Water Types Impacted by ELG


Groundwater, a crucial component in the ELG regulations, refers to the subsurface water in the interconnected pore spaces of geological materials such as soil and bedrock. Given its significance, managing groundwater in compliance with ELG is paramount to prevent contamination and ensure water quality protection. Effective monitoring, remediation, and conservation strategies are essential to safeguard this invaluable resource and meet regulatory requirements.

> Learn more

Contact Water

Contact water, within the scope of ELG regulations, encompasses precipitation that directly interacts with Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs) in open areas and water collected from plant sumps. This category of wastewater is significant where CCR management is a key concern. Contact water can become contaminated with various pollutants in CCRs, posing environmental risks if not managed effectively. Therefore, implementing measures to adequately capture, treat, and discharge contact water ensures that stringent regulatory standards are met and minimizes the adverse impacts on surrounding ecosystems and water bodies.

Combustion Residual Leachate (CRL)

Combustion Residual Leachate (CRL) is comprised of liquid, including any suspended or dissolved solids, that has percolated through waste deposited in a landfill or passed through the containment structure of a surface impoundment, such as the bottom, dikes, or berms. This wastewater stream is of critical concern, especially in facilities handling CCRs, where leachate can carry various contaminants, posing environmental risks if not managed effectively. ELG compliance requires containment, treatment, and monitoring measures to ensure that CRL meets stringent regulatory standards before discharge.

> Learn more

Bottom Ash Transport Water (BATW)

Bottom ash transport water (BATW), within the framework of ELG, refers to the wastewater employed in conveying bottom ash or economizer ash from ash collection and storage equipment or boilers, which directly interfaces with the ash material. This wastewater stream is significant where bottom ash is generated as a byproduct. Given its direct contact with ash, BATW can carry various contaminants. ELG compliance mandates implementing effective containment, treatment, and monitoring measures to ensure that BATW meets regulatory standards before discharge.

Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD)

Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD) wastewater is specifically derived from wet FGD scrubber systems, which interact with flue gas or FGD solids. This wastewater stream holds particular significance in facilities utilizing coal or other fossil fuels, where wet FGD systems are employed to remove sulfur dioxide emissions. As FGD wastewater comes into contact with flue gas and FGD solids, it can accumulate various contaminants. ELG compliance requires robust containment, treatment, and monitoring protocols to ensure FGD wastewater meets the stringent regulatory standards before discharge.

> Learn more


Stormwater on site refers to precipitation that falls within industrial facilities but does not come into contact with CCRs or other potentially contaminating materials. This type of stormwater runoff can accumulate pollutants from various sources, such as rooftops, parking lots, and other surfaces. Despite not directly interacting with CCR, stormwater runoff can carry pollutants, including heavy metals, oils, and sediments, posing environmental risks if not managed effectively. Compliance with ELG entails implementing management practices that may include using retention ponds and filtration systems to capture and treat stormwater runoff before it reaches nearby water bodies.

How can we help?

Our team of experts are happy to help answer any questions you have about UCC’s water solutions.