EPA's Region 6 Office
Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations
Section 316. Thermal Discharges
(b) Any standard established pursuant to section 301 or section 306 of this Act and applicable to a point source shall require that the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures reflect the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact.
Cooling water intake structures cause adverse environmental impact by pulling large numbers of fish and shellfish or their eggs into a power plant's or factories cooling system. There, the organisms may be killed or injured by heat, physical stress, or by chemicals used to clean the cooling system. Larger organisms may be killed or injured when they are trapped against screens at the front of an intake structure.
There are three rulemaking phases addressing cooling water intakes:
- Phase I rule, promulgated in 2001, covers new facilities.
- Phase II rule, promulgated in 2004, covers large existing electric generating plant; this rule has been suspended, effective July 9, 2007.
- Phase III rule, promulgated in 2006, covers certain existing facilities and new offshore and coastal oil and gas extraction facilities.