EPA Proposes Cooling Water Intake Structure Rule


Source: SOCMA, EPA
Related Topics: Clean Water Act

On April 20, EPA published a cooling water intake structure rule in the Federal Register.  This proposed rule would “establish requirements under section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for all existing power generating facilities and existing manufacturing and industrial facilities that withdraw more than 2 million gallons per day (MGD) of water from waters of the U.S. and use at least twenty-five (25) percent of the water they withdraw exclusively for cooling purposes. Implemented through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, the proposed rule would establish national requirements applicable to the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures at these facilities by setting requirements that reflect the best technology available (BTA) for minimizing adverse environmental impact.”  EPA estimates that 1260 facilities will be affected, a little less than half of which (590) are expected to be manufacturing facilities.  Those manufacturing facilities include, but are not limited to, chemical manufacturers.  Comments on this proposed rule are due July 19, 2011.

Additionally, a settlement agreement with environmental groups lays out the final deadlines for this rulemaking:

  • Sept. 1, 2011 – review completed of major public comments
  • Jan. 19, 2012 – options selection with EPA Administrator or Deputy Administrator
  • July 27, 2012 – final rule signed

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