Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed standards to help prevent large numbers of fish and other aquatic organisms from being killed or injured by industrial cooling water intake structures. The proposed standards, introduced on July 20, 2000, will establish new requirements to protect the most biologically sensitive areas, including tidal waters and estuaries. The proposed regulation is unique in that it applies to the intake of water and not the discharge.

Issued under a court order, the proposal would apply to new facilities drawing in large amounts of cooling water from waterways, primarily facilities in the following industries: steam electric power generation, pulp and paper making, chemical manufacturing, petroleum refining and primary metals manufacturing. Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act directs EPA to ensure that the location, design, construction and capacity of cooling water intake structures reflect the best technology available for minimizing adverse environmental impact.

EPA believes this proposal will affect no more than 98 facilities during the next 20 years and will have an annual compliance cost of $12 million. EPA does not anticipate increases in household energy costs as a result of this rulemaking. Additional information is available by calling (202) 260-2656 or e-mailing rule.316b@epa.gov.