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Cooling Water Intakes

Cooling Water Intakes

Thousands of industrial facilities use large volumes of water from lakes, rivers, estuaries or oceans to cool their plants.

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 factory's cooling system.
  • 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.

Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act requires EPA to issue regulations on the design and operation of intake structures, in order to minimize adverse impacts.