Client Alert: EPA Proposes Changes for Cooling Water Intakes at Power, Manufacturing and Industrial Facilities


The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new standards for cooling water intake structures at all existing power generating facilities as well as existing manufacturing and industrial facilities.  The new rules are designed for the protection of fish from existing water intake structures.

The June 11, 2012 rulemaking comes as part of the EPA’s implemention of section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA).  Power plants and large industrial sites that withdraw two-million gallons of water per day and use at least twenty-five (25) percent of that water for cooling purposes would be covered by this proposal.  It also looks at flow velocity, screens and methods to demonstrate minimum fish kills from existing intakes.

There is a thirty-day comment period of this proposal.  The regulation is expected to be finalized in July 2012 (due to a settlement agreement with environmental groups).  Depending on the extent of the final regulation, a court challenge may occur.

The proposal can be found at 77 Fed. Reg. 34315 (June 11, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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