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316(b) Cooling Water Intake Structure Guidance

Contact: Tarek Buckmaster 517-230-4233

The withdrawal of cooling water removes and kills hundreds of billions of aquatic organisms from waters of the United States each year, including fish, shellfish, fish eggs, and larvae.  Aquatic organisms drawn through cooling water intake structures (CWIS) are either impinged (I) against components of the intake structure or get drawn into or entrained (E) in the cooling water system itself.  Most impacts are to the early life stages of aquatic organisms.  Due to the adverse environmental impact of I and E on aquatic organisms, USEPA has promulgated rules under section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act to set national performance standards to minimize the mortality of aquatic organisms from I and E for new and existing industrial facilities.

Section 316(b) requires that the location, design, construction, and capacity of CWISs reflect the best technology available (BTA) for minimizing adverse environmental impacts (I and E).  All new or existing facilities utilizing a surface water intake structure to provide cooling water shall submit information for review.