Reducing Harm to Aquatic Life
Proposed Regulations on
Cooling Water Intake Structures
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman recently signed a proposed regulation that would reduce the number of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic life harmed or killed by the effects of withdrawing cooling water from rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, and oceans. It would apply to certain existing power-producing facilities that use large amounts of water to cool power producing-machinery.
The proposed regulation would establish requirements based on the best technology available for minimizing the effects of cooling water withdrawals. It would also allow for local decision making to determine how to minimize the effects of cooling water intakes if site-specific factors lead to costs that are either significantly greater than projected, or significantly greater than benefits at that site.
Under the proposed regulation, waterbodies that are more sensitive or that have more extensive aquatic resources will receive increased protection. The proposed regulation also provides that facilities may use restoration measures in addition to, or in lieu of, direct controls on the cooling water intake to protect aquatic life. By laying out several options in the proposal, the public is afforded the opportunity to comment on a broad range of potential scenarios for protection of fish, shellfish and other aquatic life.
For more information on this proposal, visit