Fish Protection Info Center — Electric Power Research Institute
Under Section 316 of the Clean Water Act, the protection of fish species and aquatic communities is a primary focus of water intake and discharge permits for coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power plants as well as industrial facilities. Section 316(a) regulates heated and chlorinated cooling water discharges, whereas Section 316(b) covers entrainment through cooling water intake structures (CWIS) and impingement on intake screens. Since a 1995 Consent Decree, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been developing rules to implement Section 316(b) of the Act. The rule for new facilities (Phase I) was promulgated in 2001, the final rule for large (>50 million gallon per day) existing steam electric generating facilities (Phase II) was promulgated in 2004, and the final rule for small (<50 million gallons per day) existing facilities (Phase III) was issued in June 2006. The Phase II rule, however, was suspended by the EPA in July 2007 except EPA retained the requirement that permitting authorities develop Best Professional Judgment (BPJ) controls for existing facility cooling water intake structures that reflect the best technology available (BTA) for minimizing adverse environmental impact. This provision directs permitting authorities to establish section 316(b) requirements on a BPJ basis for existing facilities not subject to categorical section 316(b) regulations. The Phase II rule remains under review by the EPA and a ruling is expected in 2014.
Tetra Tech has developed a website, the Fish Protection Info Center, to assist the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in providing its membership with information, analytical tools, innovative mitigation technologies, and expert services to help environmental and power plant managers effectively manage water resources and protect aquatic communities in accordance with section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act. The website contains comprehensive information on Clean Water Act Section 316(b), including an overview and history of 316(b) regulations, state activities in this area, a summary of fish protection technologies, and links to references both published by EPRI and in the peer literature.