ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

NOTICE OF A PROPOSED COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS PERMIT UNDER THE ALABAMA SOLID WASTES & RECYCLABLE MATERIALS MANAGEMENT ACT AND REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE – 422

Etowah County

Notice is hereby given that Alabama Power Company has submitted to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) an application for the initial issuance of a Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) Permit to Close for the Plant Gadsden Ash Pond at the Gadsden Steam Plant (Permit No. 28-09).

The Plant Gadsden Ash Pond is a CCR surface impoundment located in Section 2, Township 12 South, Range 6 East in Etowah County, Alabama consisting of approximately 130.22 acres with a disposal area that consists of approximately 58.73 acres.

The proposed permit would require the Permittee to manage CCR in accordance with the conditions of the proposed permit, ADEM Admin. Code r. 335-13-15, “Standards for the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals in Landfills and Surface Impoundments,” and the approved permit application.

Groundwater monitoring and corrective action requirements in the proposed permit establish a groundwater monitoring system of wells that provides an accurate representation of the groundwater quality underlying the unit and a groundwater monitoring plan to establish appropriate sampling and analysis of the system to detect the presence of CCR constituents. For units where CCR constituents exceed acceptable levels, the proposed permit establishes corrective action requirements to remediate contamination caused by the unit.

Closure criteria in the proposed permit establish requirements for all units to close in accordance with specified standards and timeframes. Post-closure criteria in the proposed permit require each unit be maintained for a period of time after closure, including maintaining groundwater monitoring and corrective action to ensure the long term safety of units that are closing.

The Permittee must comply with all conditions of the proposed permit except to the extent and for the duration such noncompliance is authorized by a variance granted by ADEM. The first variance requests to exclude boron as an Appendix IV assessment monitoring constituent. The second variance requests groundwater protection standards of 6 micrograms per liter (µg/L) for cobalt; 15 µg/L for lead; 40 µg/L for lithium; and 100 µg/L for molybdenum. The third variance requests the final grade of the cover system be less than 5 percent and greater than 25 percent. The fourth variance being requested is from 335-13-15-.03(6) requiring a 100 foot buffer from the perimeter of the facility boundary.

Notice is also hereby given that ADEM has scheduled a public hearing, to receive oral comments on the proposed initial issuance of the CCR permit noticed herein, to be held on Thursday, October 29th, 2020, in Gadsden, Alabama at the Beck Conference Center-Gadsden State Community College located at 1001 George Wallace Drive at 6:00 PM.

The purpose of the public hearing will be for interested parties to make oral and written comments into the public hearing record.  Those wishing to make oral comments at the public hearing are also encouraged to submit those comments in writing.  All comments must address the conditions of the proposed permit; the Department’s adherence to the applicable environmental laws, rules, and regulations in development of the proposed permit; or issues that have an impact on the applicant’s ability to meet applicable environmental laws, rules, and regulations to affect the final permit decision.  In order to affect final decisions, comments must offer technically substantial information that is applicable to the proposed permit. 

Copies of the public hearing notice and proposed permit are available for public inspection electronically via http://adem.alabama.gov/newsEvents/pubHearings.cnt and the complete application is available at the following location Monday – Friday (except legal holidays), 8:00 am to 5:00 pm by appointment.  A nominal fee for copying and/or mailing may be charged.  Arrangements for copying should be made in advance.

Russell A. Kelly, Chief
Permits and Services Division
ADEM
1400 Coliseum Blvd.
[Mailing address: PO Box 301463; Zip 36130-1463]
Montgomery, Alabama 36110-2400
(334) 271-7714
permitsmail@adem.alabama.gov

Special Public Hearing Procedures Due to COVID-19 Pandemic:

  1. Hearing Format.  In order to conduct an orderly hearing while adhering to the recommended social distancing precautions, the Department will conduct the public hearing as follows:
    1. The Department will call only one registered speaker into the hearing room at a time to provide their testimony. There will not be a general audience in the hearing room.
    2. Each registered speaker will be allowed no more than seven (7) minutes to present their testimony.  Speakers are encouraged to provide lengthy statements in writing, and to present a summary of their statement during their testimony.
    3. The Department will not allow registered speakers to enter the hearing room until they are called to give their testimony.
    4. The Department will require that speakers exit the hearing location after giving their testimony.
    5. The Department is not able to live stream the hearing or allow remote participation; however, the hearing proceedings will be recorded and placed on the Department’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDwu2w3FpjGgT4ZOjhk6ZOw/featured within approximately 24 hours of the conclusion of the hearing.
  2. Preregistration:  In order to allow social distancing by reducing the number of people gathered at the hearing location, the Department is offering preregistration to those who wish to speak at the hearing. 
    1. You may preregister at https://forms.gle/J6s1TN12c1NVJvY57 or, if any person does not have the ability to preregister online, they may call 334-274-4201 to preregister.
    2. Preregistration will end at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 22nd, 2020, to allow the Department adequate time to notify the people that did preregister of their appointed time slots.  If you miss the preregistration deadline, on-site registration will be available.
    3. To preregister, you must be willing to provide either a valid email address or cell phone number so that the Department may notify you of your approximate time slot in which you will be called to speak.  You may not request a specific time slot.
    4. You should arrive at the hearing no more than 15 minutes before your specified time slot.  At that time, please enter the venue, and Department employees will alert you when it is your turn to speak.
  3. On-site Registration.
    1. The Department will conduct on-site registration for those that wish to speak at the hearing; however, preregistration is highly recommended.
    2. Upon registering, Department representatives will inform you of your approximate time slot in which you will be called to speak.  You will be instructed to return to the hearing location approximately 15 minutes before your time slot.
    3. Please note that the people that preregistered will be called to speak prior to those that register on-site.
  4. Safety Precautions.
    1. All attendees will be required to wear masks within the hearing location; however, once called into the hearing room, adequate distancing will be established to allow the speaker to remove their mask while speaking.
    2. All attendees will be subject to temperature screening prior to entering the hearing location.
  5. Opening Statements by the Department.  Since the attendees will not be present in the hearing room while the Department provides its opening statements, links to the statements are provided below:
    1. Hearing Officer Statement (http://adem.alabama.gov/newsEvents/notices/sep20/pdfs/9apcgadsden-hearing.pdf)
    2. Coal Combustion Residuals Permit (http://adem.alabama.gov/newsEvents/notices/sep20/pdfs/9apcgadsden-coalpermit.pdf)

Any person wishing to participate in this hearing who needs special accommodations should contact the ADEM Permits and Services Division at (334) 271-7714 at least five working days prior to the hearing.

Attendance at the public hearing is not necessary in order to have comments included in the public hearing record.  Written comments received prior to the close of the public comment period will also be considered and entered into the public hearing record and will be given the same consideration as those provided at the hearing.  Persons wishing to comment may do so, in writing, to the Department's named contact above by 5:00 PM on Thursday, November 5th, 2020.

After consideration of all written comments, review of any public hearing record, and consideration of the requirements of the Alabama Solid Wastes & Recyclable Materials Management Act, and applicable regulations, the Department will make a final determination on the proposed permit.  The Department will develop a response to comments, which will become part of the public record and be posted to the Department’s website at http://app.adem.alabama.gov/eFile/.  To find the response to comments and final permit determination, you may search by the permit or facility number listed in this notice.

The Department maintains a list of interested individuals who are emailed legal notices regarding proposed permits. If you wish to receive such notices, please sign up at http://adem.alabama.gov/default.cnt by entering your email address on the left side of the page and clicking the submit button.

Notice is hereby given this 24th day of September, 2020, by authorization of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

____________________________
Lance R. LeFleur
Director

Nondiscrimination Statement: The Department does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in the administration of its programs.