Category Archives: Regulation

Report Outlines Gas Pipeline Risks to Rate Payers

Pipeline construction between West Virginia and Pennsylvania

Pipeline construction between West Virginia and Pennsylvania

by James A. Bacon

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), designed to bring low-price natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields to Virginia and North Carolina, pose significant risks to electric utility rate payers and landowners along their routes, argues a new study, “Risks Associated with Natural Gas Pipeline Expansion in Appalachia.

“Pipelines out of the Marcellus and Utica region are being overbuilt,” states the report, written by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, whose stated mission is to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. “Overbuilding puts ratepayers at risk of paying for excess capacity, landowners at risk of sacrificing property to unnecessary projects, and investors at risk of loss if shipping contracts are not renewed and pipelines are underused.”

A major justification for both pipelines is to provide Dominion Virginia Power and other electric utilities access to natural gas from West Virginia and Ohio, which for several years has been selling at a discount to Gulf of Mexico gas. But once a slew of proposed pipelines is built, the report contends, that price advantage likely will disappear, raising the possibility that the $9 billion cost of building the two pipelines will exceed the savings from lower gas prices.

“Shale drillers cannot continue to produce below cost indefinitely,” states the report. “In the longer term (10-15 years), it is likely that Marcellus and Utica gas prices will stabilize at a somewhat higher level. These longer-term prices will have a significant impact on the long-term economics of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is designed as a 40-year project.”

Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for Dominion Transmission, managing partner of the ACP, disputed the conclusions of the report, saying, “There is no question about the urgent public need for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This project was developed in response to the real and demonstrated need of public utilities in Virginia and North Carolina. … Demand for natural gas in the region will increase nearly 165 percent from 2010 to 2013. Yet there is not enough infrastructure or supply … to meet this growing demand.”

Increased demand will come from electric utilities switching from coal to natural gas and from population growth, Ruby said. In Hampton Roads natural gas is in such short supply that service has been curtailed during extreme weather events for industrial customers, and attracting new customers burning natural gas is all but impossible.

Last month 33 area legislators signed a letter saying, “The need for this project is urgent; to put it bluntly, our region’s natural gas transportation system has reached a tipping point. The pipelines serving Hampton Roads are fully subscribed. Without new infrastructure, there is no way to meet our region’s rising demand for natural gas … crippling out prospects for economic growth.”

Mountain Valley Pipeline said that it had retained Wood Mackenzie Inc. to provide an independent analysis of long-term natural gas supply and demand in the Southeast. The resulting report, says MVP spokesperson Natalie Cox, “makes clear that the Southeast market alone has more than enough natural gas demand to support the MVP’s current capacity of 2.00 [decatherms] per day, and it’s important to remember that [the] Southeast is only one of MVP’s target markets.”

Graphic credit: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

Graphic credit: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

The Marcellus gas boom

The pipeline-building boom has been driven by soaring natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields, in which production has outpaced the ability of pipeline companies serving the region to transport the gas to customers. A persistent price disparity has opened up between the “Henry Hub” price for Gulf gas and the “Dominion South” hub for shale gas, as seen in the graph above. Backers of both the ACP and MVP projects have argued that their pipelines will allow electric utilities to access the lower-priced Marcellus gas, saving $377 million a year for ACP’s Virginia and North Carolina customers alone.

The low gas prices are driving a race among natural gas companies to build new pipeline capacity to reach higher-priced markets, states the IEEFA report. “Pipeline companies [are] competing to see who can build out the best networks the quickest.” Continue reading

Once in Four Lifetimes

virginia_fishThe conservative assumptions behind Virginia water-discharge permits, says DEQ, reduce the odds of harming aquatic wildlife to fewer than three incidents in a thousand years.

by James A. Bacon

Earlier this year Dominion Virginia Power was granted permits to drain water from coal ash ponds at its Bremo and Possum Point power stations, treat the water to remove heavy metals, and discharge the effluent into the James River and Quantico Creek. Citizens have understandable concerns. What limits did DEQ place on the heavy metals in the wastewater? How were the limits determined? And what assurances do Virginians have that those limits will safeguard the public health and the health of aquatic species?

In a nod to transparency, Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has posted the permits online. To get a flavor, you can view the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit for the Bremo Power station here. Unfortunately, that document is indecipherable to the layman. DEQ permit writers live in a world all their own, replete with jargon, acronyms, arcane regulatory procedures and complex statistical formulations that only DEQ, power companies and the environmentalist groups that sue them seem to understand.

Wondering how DEQ set the heavy metals limits listed in its permits, from arsenic and mercury to lead and selenium, I sat down recently with Fred Cunningham, DEQ’s manager-office of water permits, and Allan Brockenbrough, manager-VPDES permits. The two career DEQ employees walked me through the process. Because the Possum Point permit is under appeal, they did not address the coal-ash permits specifically. But they said that the procedures for apply to all industrial sites, including power stations with coal ash ponds.

The primary message they wished to convey is this: DEQ permits create an ample safety buffer. Accounting for just two of the conservative assumptions built into the process, say Cunningham and Brockenbrough, the chances of a scenario occurring that endangers either the public health or aquatic life are in the realm of thrice every thousand years. The incorporation of other conservative assumptions reduces that incidence even further.

Brockenbrough put it this way: “When you make one conservative assumption, and a second, and a third, and a fourth, they all build on each other.”

effluent_characteristics

Heavy metal discharge limits in Dominion’s Bremo permit

Virginia environmentalists active in the coal ash debate have not taken issue with the DEQ methodology, which they neither criticize nor endorse. Their main thrust has been to ensure that wastewater is monitored and tested with sufficient frequency and duration to make the public comfortable that Water Quality Standards are being met. Also, in the case of Possum Point permit, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network has appealed on the grounds that Dominion should employ Best Available Technology, even if the resulting water quality exceeds DEQ standards. If Virginia can reduce at reasonable cost the level of pollutants released into Virginia waters, even if they exist only in trace elements, why not do it?

By contrast, John Craynon, director-environmental programs at Virginia Tech’s Center for Coal and Energy Research, says, “Our standards are very conservative. … I think the DEQ has proposed a standard that is protective and does not put an undue burden on all of us.” Just because we are capable of detecting the presence of heavy metals in parts per trillion does not mean we should regulate them at that level. Trace amounts of these elements exist in the environment and organisms have evolved to co-exist with them. Compelling industry to reduce levels even further is an exercise in diminishing returns. “Is it worth it? Some would say yes. I do a running cost-benefit analysis in my head.”

The federal Environmental Protection Agency sets the legal framework for administering the Clean Water Act, and DEQ operates within that framework. Based on the latest scientific knowledge, EPA continually updates federal water quality standards for some 130 different constituents including heavy metals, organic compounds and pesticides known to pose a threat to the health of humans and aquatic creatures. It is DEQ’s job to apply these standards to specific situations when writing permits.

DEQ determines a safe level for each constituent (measured either in micrograms per liter, or parts per billion) for three criteria: acute (short-term) impact on aquatic organisms, chronic (long-term) impact on aquatic organisms, and human health impact. In the first of many conservative safeguards, DEQ applies the most restrictive of the three numbers, even if that level provides more protection than is deemed essential for the other two.

Another conservative assumption DEQ builds into its permits is its “return interval” — the period of time over which a one-time, worst-case scenario is evaluated. The Water Quality Standards approved by EPA allow for instream standards to be exceeded once every three years. DEQ uses a ten-year interval when setting standards.

As translated into the permits for Bremo, DEQ’s discharge limits will protect the river water outside a mixing zone no larger than 16 feet wide and 2,000 feet long (about 1/3 of an acre) in the worst drought scenario predicted for a ten-year period. The vast majority of time, the area within the mixing zone where pollutants exceed Water Quality Standards will be much smaller — at times undetectable — although DEQ does not calculate how large it will be in any circumstance except the 10-year, worst-case scenario. Continue reading

No Consensus on Clean Power Plan, but McAuliffe Cutting CO2 Emissions by Other Means

David K. Paylor

David K. Paylor

After five meetings of stakeholders to discuss the best way to implement the Clean Power Plan, “there is no consensus” on how to proceed, said David K. Paylor, director of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality earlier today. “What works for some people doesn’t work for others.”

On the positive side, it looks like Virginia may have plenty of time to figure out the best approach. A legal appeal by 25 states to block the plan likely will end up decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, but probably not this year. Virginia will use the time “to get smarter,” Paylor said at the Virginia Power Dialog, a conclave of Virginia college students held at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.

A virtue of the Clean Power Plan, said Paylor, is its flexibility. States can choose between three broad approaches: setting CO2 emission targets by rate (CO2 emitted per unit of electric power), by total volume of CO2 emitted from existing power plants, or by total volume of CO2 emitted from both existing and new facilities. Each has different implications for CO2 reduction, rate impact and reliability of service, and each offers pros and cons for different stakeholders including electric utilities, independent power producers, energy consumers, and environmentalists.

While goals vary by state, depending upon their energy mix, the national goal is to achieve a 30% reduction in 2005-level CO2 emissions by 2030. Because of Virginia’s aggressive shift from coal to natural gas over the past decade, the state had already achieved a 30% reduction by 2014. Environmental groups are pushing an approach that would achieve much bigger reductions.

Angela Navarro

Angela Navarro

While the legal fate of the Clean Power Plan is uncertain, the McAuliffe administration is backing a broad array of measures to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, said Angela Navarro, deputy secretary of Natural Resources. Among a half-dozen initiatives she mentioned, the state has set a goal of cutting energy consumption in state facilities 15% by 2017.

The administration wants to “lead by example,” she said. State procurement policies can build the market by generating demand for conservation and renewable electricity. Ideally, growing demand will induce suppliers and manufacturers to set up shop here. “The governor’s dream,” she said, “is for solar manufacturers to locate in Virginia and to have for solar panels stamped with ‘Made in Virginia.'”

— JAB

Coal Ash Mishmash

Location of coal ash ponds and proximity to Virginia rivers. Map credit: Southern Environmental Law Center

Location of coal ash ponds and proximity to Virginia rivers. Map credit: Southern Environmental Law Center. (Click for larger image.)

Dominion has narrowed its differences with environmental groups over how to dispose of coal ash, but the conflict is not easily resolved, and uncertainty about the final outcome prevails.

by James A. Bacon

Dominion Virginia Power has settled disagreements with two foes over its plans to discharge coal ash wastewater from its Possum Point and Bremo power stations into Virginia’s rivers and streams, but the battle over coal ash disposal isn’t going away. Not only are the state of Maryland and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network appealing the wastewater-discharge permit for Possum Point, but Dominion still must acquire solid-waste permits for both plants.

Also, within the next year or so, Dominion will file permit applications for its legacy coal ash ponds at Chesterfield Power Station, while Appalachian Power Co. plans to close and cap an ash pond at its Clinch River Power Station. Determined to hold the power companies to the strictest standards possible, environmentalists have vowed to scrutinize each permit.

While coal ash promises to be a contentious issue over the next year or two, differences between Dominion and its opponents have narrowed. By settling its wastewater discharge issues with Prince William County and the James River Association, the utility has created a model that could be applied to the Chesterfield Power Station and elsewhere.

“The permit is incredibly protective,” says Jason Williams, Dominion’s environmental manager in charge of coal ash. “We will be well below the [heavy metal] limits on everything.” The odds of aquatic life being negatively impacted are so low, he says, they are “off the charts.”

While the settlement doesn’t accomplish everything environmentalists would like, James River Association CEO Bill Street says it represents an important, positive development. “We think that [the Bremo Power Station settlement] will serve as the basis for going forward. It shows what’s possible.”

Problems remain. Dominion has not managed to settle with the Potomac Riverkeeper Network for discharges into Quantico Creek. “That waterway is already stressed by decades of metals pollution,” explains Greg Buppert, the attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) who is appealing the permit on behalf of the network. The waterway is more impaired than the James River, he says.

Meanwhile, environmentalists worry that Dominion’s plans for consolidating coal ash on site and capping it with an impermeable liner is a partial and inadequate solution for the long-term storage of the material. Dominion, they say, needs to prevent coal ash from being polluted by excavating the coal ash and moving it to a safe landfill away from waterways.

Coal ash is the residue from the combustion of coal. For decades, power companies put this mineral waste product into holding ponds and mixed it with water to keep down the dust. The resulting slurry contained heavy metals from the coal ash such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and selenium, which in high concentrations can be toxic to aquatic life. After a calamitous 2008 spill in Tennessee, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed regulations, which went into effect in October 2015, to reduce harm from coal-ash ponds across the country. Electric utilities have the option of recycling the ash (typically using it as a component of cement), trucking the ash to a landfill, capping the ponds so rainwater cannot percolate through, or capping with additional measures. Whichever strategy is chosen, the ash must be de-watered first.

In Virginia the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) writes the permits, based on its analysis of what it takes to meet or exceed EPA standards for some 130 different constituents according to three criteria: acute toxicity of aquatic species, chronic toxicity for aquatic species, and human health in Virginia waters. Although the wastewater-discharge permits the agency drafted for Dominion’s Possum Point and Bremo operations are stricter than EPA minimums for some constituents, they were not rigorous enough to satisfy environmentalists. Clamoring for tighter restrictions of heavy metals and more rigorous testing, riverkeeper groups for both the Potomac and James appealed both permits.

Potentially billions of dollars are at stake. Dominion contends that its plan for de-watering, consolidating and capping its coal ash ponds will cost ratepayers an estimated $500 million. Meeting the environmentalists’ demands to truck the dry coal ash to landfills lined with impermeable plastic would cost an additional $3 billion — a massive sum that the company says buys little in the way of improved environmental quality.

To environmentalists, short-term costs are secondary. Bill Street, CEO of the James River Association, concedes that $3 billion would be a “hefty” price tag for a clean-up. “But look at what the James River supports. This is a long-term decision we’re making,” he says. “Futurists talk about water as the defining issue of the 21st century, defining the wealth of nations. It is critical that we manage our water resources wisely. The James River can be our greatest global competitive advantage.”

De-Watering the Coal Ash

EPA enacted its new rules for coal ash ponds in late 2015. Using the EPA limits for each constituent as a floor, Virginia’s DEQ drafted its own approach to applying those standards in the unique circumstances at each site. After conversing with environmental groups, DEQ added several measures to strengthen the rules, especially in the area of testing and monitoring.

Dominion followed quickly by filing for permits to cover its Bremo and Possum Point power stations. In its applications, the company submitted Concept Engineering Reports that described how it planned to treat water from the coal ash ponds before discharging it into Quantico Creek and the James River. Water would be drained from the ponds and run through a series of steps, including aeration, Ph adjustment, coagulant/flocculant mixing, clarifying and settling, filtering, metals adsorption (if needed) and more Ph adjustment. At the end of the process, the water would be held in holding tanks where it would be tested on a regular basis for individual constituents such as heavy metals. In addition, recognizing that multiple chemical might act synergistically, Dominion will immerse minnows and water fleas to test the overall effect. Continue reading

Disrupting Education and Health Care

steve_case

Steve Case

by James A. Bacon

Education and health care are the two most moribund economic sectors in the U.S. economy, plagued by lagging productivity and poor outcomes. Not coincidentally, both sectors are joined at the hip with government. Democrats are determined to preserve the status quo, while Republicans offer no clear market-based alternative. Is there any reason to think anything will change?

Steve Case, the legendary co-founder of AOL who now runs investment firm Revolution LLC, thinks that a “third wave” of Internet innovation will transform both sectors from the bottom up. He writes the following in the Wall Street Journal today:

While the presidential candidates discuss the merits of abolishing or expanding the federal Education Department, entrepreneurs are revolutionizing how instructors teach and students learn. Venture capitalists see what’s coming. Funding for EdTech startups hit $1.85 billion last year, according to EdSurge, up from $360 million in 2010. Former teachers are leading companies that are unleashing—finally—personalized and adaptive learning. While the pundits debate education policy, the innovators are in the trenches improving classrooms all across the country.

Or look at health care. As the candidates pitch plans to abolish or build on the Affordable Care Act, the real action to improve America’s medical system is coming from entrepreneurs. They are inventing better ways to keep us healthy, and smarter ways to treat us when we get sick. The revolution in health care is being led by the innovators who are working tirelessly to improve outcomes, enhance convenience and lower costs. And again, investors sense this: Last year health care companies raised a record $16.1 billion in venture capital, this newspaper reported, an increase from 2014 of 34%.

But there is no divorcing government from the process, argues Case.

Third Wave innovators … won’t be able to go it alone; they’ll need to go together. They’ll need to engage with governments, as regulators and often as customers. And they’ll need to recognize that revolutions often happen in evolutionary ways. Success will require many alliances, as well as constructive dialogue with regulators.

This entrepreneurial revolution offers Virginians an alternative to the stale and polarized alternatives of the past. Virginia may or may not be where these new companies originate and create product-development, back-office and headquarters jobs. But our approach to public policy will influence where these entrepreneurs do business first. The more flexible and open we are, the greater the likelihood of attracting investment and re-energizing our education and health-care sectors. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Will we take it or squander it?

SCC Approves Greensville Gas Plant

The Greensville power station will use technology similar to that used in Dominion's combined-cycle natural gas plant in Brunswick County, pictured here.

The Greensville power station will use technology similar to that used in Dominion’s combined-cycle natural gas plant in Brunswick County, pictured here.

by James A. Bacon

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved yesterday Dominion Virginia Power’s filing to build a $1.3 billion natural gas-powered power station in Greensville County. The power station will generate 1,588 megawatts of electricity, upping Dominion’s reliance on natural gas to 39% of its energy mix by 2020.

Construction, expected to begin later this year, is expected to be complete by 2019. The project will create roughly 1,0o0 construction jobs and 45 full-time positions, and it will generate $8 million a year in property taxes for Greensville County.

In approving the project, the SCC rejected the arguments of environmental groups that Dominion had failed to properly consider third-party alternatives for obtaining the electricity or alternatives such as energy efficiency, solar energy, a combined gas/solar hybrid facility or a portfolio approach. “The company’s choice of a natural gas facility appears prudent given the current natural gas market and forecasted gas prices,” stated the SCC in its final order.

Dominion said that customers will save $2.1 billion over the life of the power station through fuel savings compared to the project cost of purchasing electricity in the open market. Said Paul Koonce, CEO of Dominion Generation group: “This project will ultimately bring low cost, reliable energy to our customers … in addition to providing a major economic impact and good paying jobs for Southside Virginia.”

The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, which opposed the filing, has not published a response on its website.

Bacon’s bottom line: To my mind, the most interesting question regarding the $1.3 billion investment is whether Dominion should be committing itself to a fixed, multi-decadal investment in an era in which the cost of solar energy continues to decline. Natural gas prices are incredibly low right now, and probably will continue to be for several years, but there are reasonable grounds for wondering if prices could rise sharply, as they have in the past, as a slew of proposed gas pipelines and gas liquefaction facilities start connecting the Marcellus and Utica gasfields to new markets, including those overseas.

Dominion is building a combined-cycle gas plant, which uses waste heat from the gas turbine to power a steam turbine, producing up to 50% more electricity from the same amount of fuel. With low gas prices, the economics are hard to beat at present. Assuming the Greensville plant runs most of the time, as it is designed to do, it will produce electricity far more cheaply than an industrial-scale solar facility, which generates no electricity when the sun goes down, and suffers diminished output in cloudy conditions.

The SCC found that Dominion had taken “serious and credible efforts to assess the cost and availability of third-party alternatives.” The company had issued an RFP and evaluated 5,000 megawatts of fully dispatchable, baseload or intermediate generation resources.

“We find that the Company’s RFP to be adequate for purposes of this proceeding,” states the SCC ruling. “Moreover, the Project was also compared to multiple unsolicited offers for solar, wind, landfill gas, and coal resources that were received outside of the RFP.”

Riverkeepers, Dominion Spar Over Year-Old Release of Coal Ash Water

Dean Naujoks with the Potomac Riverkeeper Network

Dean Naujoks with the Potomac Riverkeeper Network

by James A. Bacon

The Dumfries Town Council is still calling for a criminal investigation into Dominion Virginia Power’s release of untreated coal ash water into Quantico Creek last spring, reports InsideNova.

After a presentation by the Potomac Riverkeeper Network March 1, the council voted unanimously to ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to look into the relationship between Dominion and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) concerning the release of water from Possum Point Power Station coal ash ponds about twelve months ago. Cathy Taylor, Dominion’s director of electric environmental service, told the utility’s side of the story March 15. But Town Council took no action to reverse its previous request.

The EPA enacted new regulations late last year governing the disposal of coal ash, the residue from coal combustion which has been shown to leach heavy metals into the water. A DEQ permit granted for Dominion’s Possum Creek operation this year is far stricter than the previous permit, but it has generated controversy over whether it is restrictive enough. In any case, the release of coal ash water that prompted Dumfries’ call for an investigation precedes the current permit. That release was governed by a previous, less restrictive set of regulations.

Taylor

Cathy Taylor, Dominion’s irector of electric environmental service

The utility confirmed in February that it had released 27.5 million gallons of untreated coal-ash water into Quantico Creek eleven months previously, raising fears among environmentalists that the water might have contained potentially toxic levels of heavy metals. Confusion arose from conflicting statements from Dominion and DEQ Director David Paylor regarding that release.

Taylor acknowledged that something might have gone awry in the company’s communication to DEQ, and she also said that its engineers had revised their estimate of the volume of water released in order to be as precise as possible. Her larger point was that Dominion was abiding by the provisions of its 2012 permit. (DEQ officials have confirmed that the release did not “cross the threshold” of what the permit allowed.) Furthermore, said Taylor, the discharge was comparable in volume to many discharges the utility had made legally in the past.

In his March 1 presentation, Dean Naujoks with the Potomac Riverkeeper Network had characterized the conflicting stories as a possible indication of a DEQ coverup of Dominion’s actions, akin to the way he said North Carolina regulators had covered for Duke Energy after a major coal ash spill in 2014.  “Something is not adding up to this story,” he told the Town Council. His accusation gained seeming support with recent publicity that DEQ Director David Paylor had been a guest of Dominion three years ago to the Masters golf tournament.

However, Naujoks has not produced evidence disputing Dominion’s assertion that its discharge of surface water last year was allowed by its 2012 permit, so it’s not clear what DEQ might be covering up.

Under the 2012 permit for Possum Point, which meets EPA’s old regulatory standards, Dominion periodically discharged surface rainwater that accumulated atop the coal ash. The regulatory logic was that surface water had not mixed with the coal ash and did not contain contaminants that required treatment.

‘The surface water was tested to see if it met limits established by the DEQ permit,” says Dominion spokesman Dan Genest. “If it did we could discharge it and would have to file reports to DEQ showing the discharge was within limits. No prior DEQ approval was needed nor did we have to tell them we were discharging in advance.”

Naujok has a stronger case with his charge that, whether legal or illegal, coal ash ponds under the old permit were contaminating ground and river water. The surface water sitting on top of the coal ash that Dominion released into the river originated mainly from rainwater. That is very different from the ground water that migrates through the coal ash and picks up contaminants on the way. Potomac Riverkeeper tests have found high concentrations of heavy metals in the groundwater and river water near the lagoons. Earning Dominion’s ire for trespassing on company land, Naujok has taken photos showing seepage of water in puddles on the ground, and has shown how a “toe drain” underneath the coal ash ponds might have released contaminated water into the river. While such evidence supports his contention that the old regulations were inadequate, they do not address whether Dominion discharged surface water in violation of its permit.

The new EPA regulations and DEQ discharge permit will put a halt to the practice of discharging untreated surface water. Any water from the coal ash lagoons, including surface water, now must undergo extensive treatment and testing. Prince William County signed off on the DEQ permit after extracting concessions from Dominion to ensure closer monitoring and testing.

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network has appealed the permit on the grounds that the DEQ should set standards based on “best available technology” as opposed to criteria consistent with maintaining a fishable-swimmable water quality standard, as DEQ maintains. But that issue is unrelated to the release of coal ash lagoon surface water under the 2012 permit.